Not Pokémon. Just Poké, mon.
Poké bars are popping up in Atlanta’s ’burbs like those proverbial post-spring-rain fungi.
Dee and I first discovered the Poké Bar Phenomenon a few weeks ago while casting about for a place to grab a quick lunch in Sandy Springs. Looking at one of my iPhone apps for something nearby, I saw something with which I was unfamiliar: a close-by place calling itself “Poké Bar.” A straightforward, simple, descriptive name, like a calling a beer “Beer.”
We gave it a try. It was set up a little like the old-school cafeterias, where you’d proceed along a counter and pile stuff on your tray. But here, the piling up was done on the other side of the counter. Into a bowl, the server would layer a base (rice, greens, or both); various additives (soybeans, scallions, ginger, seaweed, jalapeños, et al.); sauces; proteins (mostly various kinds of raw fish); toppings; and various sprinkly stuff. The result is something resembling an elaborate version of chirashi-zushi, the Japanese dish in which several kinds of raw fish are served as toppings on a bowl of sushi rice.
It was delightful.
On the way home, we saw that another poké shoppe was soon to open right in our neighborhood. And since then, we’ve not only checked that one out, but gone to yet another one a few miles up the road in Alpharetta.
Poké is something that - if I’m not mistaken - is a Hawai‘ian dish that became immensely popular in California before metastatizing to points east. And if it’s made it to Atlanta, you can be sure that it will be in a neighborhood near you before too long.
Give it a try! I know a few people who treat raw fish as though it were radioactive, but most everyone else just might enjoy it.