Three weeks ago, food blogger Victoria Chediak and her family, along with chef Yukie Horita, opened Poké 305 at 169 SW Seventh St. A simple and casual eatery, it has capitalized on a food trend that's taking Miami by storm. Poke, a traditional Hawaiian dish made from diced raw fish and seasoned with savory sauces, is a hot commodity in the Magic City, with the dish — pronounced po-kay — showing up on many a seafood menu.
Chediak and Hirota, however, take the cool, flavorful meal and infuse it with a Latin touch and ingredients such as guacamole and yuca chips to put a personal spin on poke.
Walking into Poké 305, you'll likely see a smiling member of the Chediak family greeting you from behind the counter. Eager to explain the menu and the concept behind each bowl, he or she will guide you through the process of your order. Each signature bowl is designed by a member of the family and includes a different homemade sauce crafted in house.
Despite its predetermined menu, Poké 305 also uses Chipotle’s method of ordering, allowing each customer to build a lunch or dinner plate of one's own.
For a base price of $12.95 (regular) or $15.95 (large), anyone can create a salad, a burrito, or a bowl, served with miso soup. Bowls are filled with white rice, brown rice, or quinoa, and salads are made with a fresh spring mix. You then choose a dish-defining protein, which includes raw tuna, raw salmon, whitefish, chicken, or shrimp.
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Irrespective of the base or protein you choose, each order comes with an unlimited number of mix-ins, ranging from crunchy vegetables to Latin-inspired ingredients. From carrots and cucumber to cilantro and Peruvian corn, the ingredients can make your poke as unconventional and healthful as you choose. Feel free to add some crunch with sweet potato, plantain, or wonton chips. For an additional $1, you can also add one of eight premium toppings, including avocado, pineapple, mango, and seaweed salad.
Once the bulk of your plate its ready, it’s on to your choice of traditional or signature sauces, made fresh by Chef Horita daily. The options include Korean barbecue, spicy mayo, and wasabi aioli. Regular soy sauce is also offered at the counter. Chediak encourages clients to try new combinations each time they visit. To find the plate with the best flavor and the best texture, you must let your creativity reign.
Though an order of poke is sure to be a satisfying meal, the restaurant also offers a variety of mochi ice-cream flavors for dessert ($2.25 each). The employees will keep your ice cream refrigerated behind the counter while you eat, because everyone knows mochi is a dessert best served cold. If you’re feeling adventuresome, try a traditional Japanese pastry called dorayaki, which includes a sweet red-bean filling stuffed between two fluffy pancakes.
With its slightly obscure location, Poké 305 is a good choice for 9-to-5 workers or millennials who set aside only a few minutes for lunch. The food is good, the service is fast, and the ingredients are noticeably fresh. Though this restaurant can be for the health-conscious, it can also satisfy those who like to indulge. It's a meal you create depending upon what you want. When you come here, you are completely in charge.