Surprisingly modern and airy, belying its location tucked into a strip center on Washtenaw Ave across from Arborland, the dark wood and clean lines of Poke Fish run soothing and happy. The murals lining the walls depict joyful characters creating an active and colorful ramen meal in muted pastels.
The eatery’s affable owner, Adam Chen, indicates that his Poke Fish restaurant is the first in what he anticipates will eventually be a chain. With prior experience operating restaurants in New York and elsewhere, Chen chose Ann Arbor from the map of the entire US as the spot to locate his Poke Fish venture in 2017. The first to serve this Hawaiian dish in Ann Arbor, though others have followed suit, Chen’s remains the preeminent place to visit and enjoy.
Just say “poh-kay”
“Poke,” pronounced POH-KAY, means “to cut crosswise into pieces” in Hawaiian. While it’s unclear exactly where the dish originated, poke began as a local creation, melding a taste for raw fish with an Asian, particularly Japanese, sensibility to forge a new presentation. Traditional poke, a simple concoction of cubed raw ahi (tuna) with a bit of shoyu (soy sauce), now encompasses other varieties.
Poke Fish’s menu, a relatively brief listing, includes three primary options, Poke Bowls, Ramen and Hibachi Grill Bowls.
The Poke Bowl combos are comprised of pre-selected ingredients and range in price from $9.95 to $11.95. There is also a create-your-own option with a list of proteins including various preparations of raw tuna, salmon and yellowtail, cooked versions of shrimp and scallops and for those not inclined to experience the seafood poke, grilled chicken. Mix-ins, in the form of vegetable additions, include edamame, fresh jalapeño, cilantro, kale and other varieties. These are all available with a choice of sauces ranging from spicy to ponzu to gluten free soy as well as toppings like seaweed salad, sesame seeds, pickled ginger and a variety of others.
The ramen is also available with adequate, but limited variety, including chicken, pork, beef and seafood. All are served in a pork bone broth, which has been simmering for some time. The additions in each Ramen bowl include the expected noodle and other treasures like bamboo shoots, fish cake, egg and veggies along with the selected protein. Ramen is $9.95 and $11.99 for the seafood version.
The Hibachi Grill bowls offer a stir-fried selection with choice of rice, including chicken, steak or shrimp. These run from $7.95 to $8.95.
For a light but filling meal that leaves you feeling clean and healthy, Poke Fish is a great addition to the Washtenaw County culinary landscape. Like pho and ramen before it, this dining option migrated from Asia, across the Pacific, finally arriving here from the Left Coast. We’re glad Adam Chen picked Ann Arbor for his poke vision, and we will visit again soon to make certain that he knows it.
Poke Fish | 3500 Washtenaw Ave, Ann Arbor
734-922-2207 | poke-fish-sushi.business.site