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River Oyster Bar's Fast-Casual Concept, Local Boy Poke, to Debut at Wynwood Life Festival

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Though tuna poke can be found on many restaurant menus, Miami really hasn't had a true taste of the dish.  

Poke, which comes from the Hawaiian word "to slice or cut raw fish," is much more than an appetizer. The dish, born in Hawaii, began as a way for fishermen to serve the cut-off parts of their daily catch as a snack. Seasoned with traditional Asian flavors such as soy sauce, green onions, and sesame oil, the fish was transformed into a delicious mini-meal.

Miami will have a true taste of island poke when Local Boy Poke opens in Wynwood.

The fast-casual seafood concept by River Oyster Bar's David Bracha and Curtis Rhodes will offer poke and other dishes inspired by the Hawaiian islands. Bracha and Rhodes, by the way, are still with River Oyster Bar and plan to remain at the Brickell seafood standard.

Chef Rhodes, a native of Hawaii, knows how to eat poke. The chef recalls fishing with his father when Rhodes was a boy. "Dad would reel in 300-pound marlins fresh out of the water, pull out a knife, and go to work. In just a few minutes, he would have a chunk for fillets and then slice fresh sashimi, which we would simply dip in hot mustard and soy right on the boat."

River Oyster Bar has been serving the dish for some time, but now the chefs think it's time Miami delved deeper into the poke bowl, so to speak. They plan to open a brick-and-mortar location of Local Boy Poke in Wynwood sometime before October. The location is set but won't be divulged until they make final lease arrangements. Once the paperwork is inked, they'll set up a temporary food truck adjacent to the permanent spot and start serving. The temporary poke stand should be open within a month.

Dishes will run between $10 to $15 and include ahi tuna shoyu with seaweed, soy, and sesame; pipikaula (fried beef) with chili udon noodles and spicy edamame; furikake salmon with quinoa, brown rice, and ocean salad; spicy ahi tuna with garlic plantain chips; and pork belly musubi with sushi rice and nori.

For now, Local Boy Poke will offer its signature dish at the Wynwood Life Festival, taking place at the RC Cola Plant in Wynwood this Friday through Sunday, April 22 through 24. 

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