The Advocate

Sea You at Poki Poki

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Sea You at Poki Poki

Timi Adeniyi, Writer

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New Mexico may be landlocked, but that doesn’t mean that New Mexicans can’t experience the fresh flavors of the North Pacific. Poki Poki Cevicheria packs an array of vibrant flavors into perfectly sized poke bowls. These dishes, originating in Hawaii around 50 years ago, traditionally consist of a rice base, vegetables, and fish; essentially, they’re unrolled sushi. The Poki Poki franchise is the first restaurant of its kind in the Albuquerque area, and has rapidly gained popularity since opening its two locations. As the name suggests—ceviche is a raw fish dish popular in Mexico and Latin America—Poki Poki is unique for its non-traditional Asian-Latin fusion cuisine. And, aside from fresh and tasty food, the restaurant also provides a welcoming seafood shack vibe. From the spray-painted walls, metal stools, and chalkboard menu to the laid-back staff, Poki Poki is, simply stated, cool.

When I entered through the glass doors of the restaurant, I was immediately greeted by the smiling faces of the bowl-makers behind the counter. They explained that I could either make my own bowl from scratch or choose one of the options from their special bowls menu. Although I chose their specialty Spicy Bowl, which already had all the bases and toppings preset, the process of building your own bowl is simple. Step one, “Bowl & Base,” allows customers to choose their base from the options of rice, salad, and corn chips. ‍This choice accounts for the majority of the food inside the bowl. Next is step two, or “Go Fishing.” Though there is a great selection of fish, including the traditional tuna and salmon, Poki Poki also offers popcorn chicken, tofu, and pineapple as alternate bases. After filling the bowl with fresh food, customers can add infusions of other flavors during “Sauce It Up,” the third step. The sauce options are split into two categories: “Latin Sauces,” like Red Pepper and Pineapple Mojo, and “Asian Sauces” such as Classic Poke and Tosa-Mi. Step four is to add some of the many toppings they offer. Popular choices include avocado, onion crisps, seaweed, and pickled ginger. Finally, a dressing, ranging in spectrum from teriyaki to sriracha, finishes off the bowl.

Within minutes of ordering, my own bowl was in front of me, ready to be devoured. The bowl was well-presented, displaying the gorgeous colors of the tasty fish and toppings, and the portion was thoroughly satisfying. My only major complaint about the restaurant is that prior to arriving I struggled to find a parking spot in the Wyoming and Comanche location’s cramped parking lot. Overall, however, if you are looking for a quick, healthy, and exotic bite to eat, Poki Poki is the place to go. This restaurant is truly building a name for itself in Albuquerque as it spreads its fusion flavors throughout the city.

 

Poki Poki has two locations in New Mexico, one at 2300 Central Ave SE and the other at 3517 Wyoming Blvd NE.

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Sea You at Poki Poki