If you’re wondering how to pronounce one of the newest culinary trends to hit this area, just say “OK to po-kay.”
Poke bowls are the perfect dishes for sushi and raw seafood lovers, and Poke to Me in Camarillo has the Hawaiian-style cuisine down to a fine art.
It’s all about choices and catering to your taste buds in the moment. Don’t feel like rice? No problem—go for the salad base. Don’t have a craving for tuna? Then opt for salmon or spicy crab meat. There’s even chicken available for non-seafood buffs and tofu for vegetarian and vegan palates.
Here’s how it works: You first choose the base you’d like to have at the bottom of your bowl, so you start with either sushi white rice, brown rice, spring mixed salad or a half-and-half mix.
It’s a fun process that you can change up every time you visit, or you can choose the same items each time. Either way, you won’t be disappointed because the portions are very satisfying and I totally enjoyed the huge variety of selections that are offered.
The next step is choosing your protein, and this means two whopping scoops of whatever strikes your fancy for a small portion or three for a regular. Choices include tuna, albacore, tofu, scallops, salmon, chicken and spicy shrimp and crab.
The choices don’t stop there. There are several different protein sauces, including a garlic ponzu to die for, as well as topping sauces that range from mild (eel) to scorching (sriracha). I also counted at least 20 sides and toppings, including bean sprouts, cucumber, jalapeño, pineapple, fish eggs and black olives, to name just a few.
Top it all off with ginger, wasabi, crispy garlic or onion, nori and/or sesame seeds and you’re good to go. Or stay in to enjoy a light but totally fulfilling meal in a bowl. You can wash it all down with fountain beverages or a unique Aloha-brand guava or green tea drink. Also tasty is Poke to Me’s homemade ginger lemonade, which is nicely balanced and refreshing.
Poke to Me also offers scoops of palate-cooling ice cream for $1.15 each. Flavors include mango, strawberry and chocolate, plus two exotic and unique offerings: green tea or black sesame.
Jason Fajardo, a physician’s assistant at a nearby urgent care center, says he visits Poke to Me at least once or twice a week. He usually concocts a spicy, savory mix that starts with a salad base. Salmon and scallops are his go-to proteins, and then he adds volcano sauce and a side of seaweed salad. He tops it all with lava sauce. The result, he says, is “fresh, healthy and tasty.”
Co-owner Katie Kim suggests that first-timers try one of the restaurant’s signature bowls for $9.99. This features all of the following: white or brown rice; two scoops of tuna, two scoops of salmon and one scoop of crab meat; and a ton of veggies including corn, carrots, cucumber and shoyu onion. It’s topped with a mixed dressing that includes Maui sauce, sesame oil and volcano sauce.
“It’s not too spicy,” adds Kim, who says she loves poke so much that she eats it every time she visits the restaurant, which is several times a week. She even has it at a poke place near her home in La Cañada Flintridge.
She and her lawyer hubby, Gary, opened Poke to Me last October. It’s open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Because there are so many choices, some regular patrons like to call in orders and pick them up so as not to have to wait in the lines that often form, Katie Kim said.
Kim and her husband take customers’ suggestions very seriously, so the restaurant’s menu is constantly evolving.
If you love lots of choices, this place is heaven. It’s definitely worth a visit. Actually, it’s worth many visits; that’s the only way you’re going to be able to sample everything.
Poke to Me is in the Camarillo Plaza at 1877 E. Daily Drive, Ste. D-2, right in the corner spot.
For information or to phone orders for pick-up, call (805) 702- 4183 or go to poke2me.com.