My first impression of Bluefin Poke is that you’d miss the little place if you didn’t know it was there, sandwiched in between a well-regarded Italian restaurant and a gourmet pizza shop. Its downtown location means parking is at a premium, and you may need to feed a meter if doing a weekday lunch visit. Counter service was friendly and fast, and they didn’t mind the woman who brought in a slice of pizza for her small kid to enjoy during his mom’s raw fish feast.
Poke bowls come in two sizes, a regular bowl with four scoops of protein ($11) or the large bowl with six scoops ($14). An extra scoop of protein can be added for $2.
Having chosen a size, patrons next select a base of sushi rice, brown rice, mixed greens, wonton chips or a half-and-half mix. I wanted greens and chips in my large bowl, but they were all out of the crispy bits. I stuck with the greens, while my adult children went with mixes of rice and greens.
Proteins include ahi tuna, spicy tuna, salmon, yellowtail, shrimp and scallop. My choice of a scoop each seemed pretty obvious, seeing as I’d get to try everything offered.
I chose sauces for my fish salad next—spicy ponzu, wasabi aioli and fried garlic soy sauce. I could have also added sesame sauce, unagi sauce, sriracha hot sauce or spicy aioli. All that I tasted were good, but the wasabi and fried garlic soy sauce were standouts.
Perhaps the best thing about building your own poke bowl is choosing what to top it with, and you can ask for as much as the bowl will hold. Bluefin’s list offers a fair amount of variety, with tomato, edamame, tobiko, jalapeño, cucumber, pickled ginger, furikake, nori, panko, crab meat, seaweed salad and green, white or fried onion. Avocado is 50 cents extra for about a quarter of a large Haas, cubed fresh for your bowl.
I didn’t want to go overboard, so in addition to some nicely ripe avocado, I chose green and fried onion, tobiko, cucumber, furikake, nori and a big scoop of crab. The fried onion was particularly good, adding a nice bit of crunch.
I got a taste of each rice and was pleasantly surprised by both the flavors and textures. The brown rice was about as non-chewy as possible, and the sushi rice had a nice hint of vinegar. Both were served just slightly warm at the bottom of the bowl. My fresh greens tasted great, though I did miss the wonton for contrast.
The ahi, salmon and yellowtail were cubed a bit larger than other poke I’ve tried, but still sufficiently bite-sized and quite fresh. The shrimp was done sushi style—butterflied with edible tail on—and the spicy tuna was chopped and mixed with seasonings. The scallop chunks were exceptionally good, lacking the squishy, snotty texture so often encountered with those in AYCE sushi.
My group of poke fans enjoyed a healthy, delicious meal that filled ’em up without breaking the bank. My toddler grandson really enjoyed it, stating the best part to be the flying fish roe “bubbles.” I’m ordering bubbles from now on.