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About this blog: I am a perpetually hungry twenty-something journalist, born and raised in Menlo Park and currently working at the Palo Alto Weekly as education and youth staff writer. I graduated from USC with a major in Spanish and a minor in jo...  (More)

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Pokéworks to open in downtown Mountain View

Uploaded: Oct 23, 2015
The Chipotle model of fast-casual, build-your-own (fill in the blank) has been spun off into almost every culinary sector: pizza, sandwiches, salads, even sushi-burritos.

And now, poké -- a Hawaiian dish that combines cubes of raw fish with different sauces and spices, like ahi tuna with sesame, green onions and soy sauce. (Poké is the Hawaiian verb for "section" or "to slice or cut.")

A new restaurant called Pokéworks will be opening in downtown Mountain View later this year, offering build-your-own poké bowls, wraps and salads.

The Pokéworks team, a mix of "serial entrepreneurs" and partners from a national restaurant chain, recently took over 211 Castro St., formerly the home of Alpine Books, partner Kasper Hsu said last week. Hsu declined to name the other restaurant chain he's involved in. He will serve as the managing director for the new Pokéworks concept, which he envisions expanding beyond the first location in Mountain View.

Hsu said he and his partners felt like Hawaiian poké was lacking in the area and wanted to bring in their own version: quick, customizable and healthy.

At Pokéworks, customers will be able to choose from some signature bowls or build their own. Those who want to customize start by choosing a base, which is either a bowl of warm sushi rice, organic brown rice or quinoa; a seaweed wrap with warm sushi rice; or salad with chopped romaine lettuce. There are two size options, regular or large.

Next, select a protein: ahi tuna, seared albacore, salmon, scallops or free-range chicken cooked in a sous vide machine or organic tofu. Then choose your flavor, which is a selection of sauces (shoyu, ponzu, siracha aioli, wasabi aioli, spicy ginger, sweet chili) and toppings and mix-ins like chopped green onions, cucumber, kale, cilantro, shiso leaves, diced mango, edamame, avocado, pickled ginger, roasted macadamia nuts and more.


Pokéworks will serve build-your-own poke bowls, wraps and salads with a variety of proteins, sauces and toppings to choose from.

Signature poké bowls will include the "Hawaiian classic" (ahi tuna with green and sweet onion, seaweed, Hawaiian salt, chili flakes and roasted sesame oil), "spicy ahi" (ahi tuna with siracha aioli, green and sweet onion, cucumber and masago) and a "salmon shiso" (salmon, green and sweet onion, edamame, shiso leaves, crispy onion and garlic, yuzu ponzu sauce). Others feature albacore, shrimp and scallops cooked in a sous vide machine, free-range chicken breast and tofu.

All fish will be sustainably sourced, and Hsu said he hopes the restaurant will help educate customers on seafood sustainability.

Pokéworks will also serve "Hawaiian-inspired" desserts and beverages, Hsu said.

There's no official opening date yet, but Hsu said they're hoping for the end of December.

Comments

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by poke eater, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Oct 23, 2015 at 11:45 am

Is this a different restaurant from "Poke Bar", which Yelp says is coming to 340 Castro Street? Web Link


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Elena Kadvany, education reporter of the Palo Alto Weekly,
on Oct 23, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Elena Kadvany is a registered user.

poke eater: That's a separate restaurant, to be blogged about soon!


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Oct 23, 2015 at 1:41 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

I gather from this report, Elena, that the name has changed recently from the original "Poke Fresh" in the permit application (2nd item below). First item below is Poké Bar that the first comment above asked about.
________
Version of a new-downtown-restaurants update I sent a month ago (9/23) to the Old Mountain View email list (OMVNAtalk), and to Elena and other interested people:

• Ava's Downtown Market & Deli (340 Castro), which earlier recruited an independent catering firm to run its sandwich deli (impressive results: a temple of creative, gastronomic sandwiches), plans soon to inaugurate a Poké Bar, part of a successful chain (www.gopokebar.com), to replace the ice-cream counter (which will reopen elsewhere in the market). Poké is a Hawaiian fish salad.

• Poke seems to be a trend: City documents show a new restaurant Poke Fresh planned at 211 Castro (the small storefront south of Alexander's Patisserie) (Applicant Jerry Wang, hearing was Sept. 23)

• Eureka (a popular southern-California restaurant group with casual foods and hamburgers) is taking over 191 Castro at Villa (formerly Kapp's and "191"). A neighbor who tried another Eureka restaurant praised its creative, moderately-priced menu. Web Link

• Rumble Fish has been under construction, replacing Sono Sushi at 357 Castro.

• Not a restaurant, but a pending candy/soda shop Rocket Fizz has had window signage up at the NW Castro/Dana corner (formerly the popular pet store Seascapes).


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Oct 23, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

Looks like this website isn't rendering standard accented character codes. "Poke Bar," with an acute accent over the e, is the concession planned inside Ava's Market and Deli at 340 Castro.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Shocked and Alarmed, a resident of Blossom Valley,
on Oct 23, 2015 at 2:09 pm

The failure to properly render standard accented character codes is inexcusable, as is the failure to credit Max as the true author of this story!!!!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Elena Kadvany, a resident of another community,
on Oct 23, 2015 at 2:22 pm

Max: They did change the name from Poke Fresh to Pokeworks. And excuse a temporary glitch in the system that is not allowing accent marks! Thanks for the additional information on Poke Bar.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by sigh., a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Oct 23, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Sorry, but I am tired of these build-a-meal type restaurants. Asian Box, Pizza Studio, etc. Just build a great menu and make the best food. Forget the gimmicks.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Oct 23, 2015 at 5:38 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

Thanks Elena. (I was just at the location; the only info there is another City notice about the proposed business, again titled Poke Fresh -- so the name must have recently evolved.)

I guess the fifth comment above (pseudonymous) is facetious -- hard to tell online -- but no, I didn't write any of today's blog post, Elena did. I wrote the one-sentence item last month about "Poke Fresh" that I quoted above. (From the logo shown on FB, "Pokeworks" also accents its e, which currently comes out here like this: Pokéworks.)


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Kayla, a resident of Palo Alto Hills,
on Oct 23, 2015 at 5:58 pm

I can't wait!!! Loved poke since first visiting Maui many, many years ago.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Foodie , a resident of Mountain View,
on Oct 23, 2015 at 6:08 pm

Can't Wait for PokeWorks to open! I like the website www.Pokeworks.com


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Shocked and Alarmed, a resident of Blossom Valley,
on Oct 23, 2015 at 6:39 pm

Oxford's defines "facetious" as "[t]reating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor," so given that the topic is Hawaiian raw fish and web character codes - no, I wasn't being facetious, but I can't speak for how seriously others may take these issues. I would accept a more careful word choice, such as absurdist.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Plane Speaker, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Oct 24, 2015 at 8:09 pm

Mmmmm, Pokeworks looks worth trying despite the massage parlor sounding name.

Sorry to hear that Sono Sushi is gone or going to close. There was a time when I lived in Mountain View I'd be eating there several times a week until the service took a turn for the worse. A lot of good memories at that place.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Poke Quiz, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Oct 25, 2015 at 2:24 am

Which MV restaurant serves the best (ahi) poke'? hint:They have been doing it for years at a bargain price and only recently raised the price...


 +  Like this comment
Posted by USA, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Oct 26, 2015 at 9:09 pm

USA is a registered user.

There are a few places around that server up poké. Is there really a big demand?

No doubt the fusion places will start popping up too. How about a Hawaiian-Caribbean place called Pokémon?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by USA, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Oct 26, 2015 at 9:10 pm

USA is a registered user.

Yup, accented characters don't work here.

Kind of spoils the Pokemon joke.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Reader, a resident of another community,
on Oct 30, 2015 at 8:00 am

@Plane Speaker:

Sono Sushi is gone (good riddance) and has been replaced by a new sushi-ya called Rumblefish. I walked by it last night, I did not see any sushi boats.

Sono Sushi's food was never very good and the boats were an abomination. Sushi Tomi on West Dana Street is far better.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Chef's surprise, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Oct 30, 2015 at 9:26 am

Fresh fish on Sat, poke on monday.
Poke is a godsend to chefs who can make poke with their older fish instead of chucking it. With so much fraud in the seafood industry, I'll skip the store bought / restaurant poke, esp on mondays!
It's easy to make and you can control the freshness, which is the most important factor by far.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by resident, a resident of South of Midtown,
on Dec 7, 2015 at 10:44 am

Any update on when this restaurant will open? I tried the other poke restaurant on Castro Street (Poke Bar) and quality there was a little mixed. Hope that this one is more consistent.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Kevin, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Mar 13, 2016 at 11:16 am

Does anyone know if this is open? Their website lists the address but no phone number, google search turns up nothing as does Yelp.



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