I mentioned this place in a post back in May. During the Fourth of July weekend, I noticed the place had opened. And while I cringe a bit at those places that misspell "poke", I decided since this place was close enough to work, I should check them out.
Much like San Diego Poke Company; there's that fast-casual assembly line set-up. They feature three bowl "sizes" (small - $7.99, regular - $8.99, large $10.99) and a wrap ($8.99) Basically a 5 step process clearly outlined on signs behind the counter. Choose your base (here you can even get chips), step 2, add-ons (i.e. avocado, onion, surimi - sorry no Flamin' Cheetos here), protein, then sauce, step 5 are toppings, which I found to be a bit confusing with considering step 2, until I saw the difference in portioning. Looks like they are keeping things simple for the assembly line Keeping with "my rules" for checking out these poke places, I had to go with the tuna.....but man; that was the brightest cherry red (courtesy of carbon monoxide), saku (which you can even order from Amazon) fish staring me in the face.
Part of the dining area is set-up with a very industrial style tables and stools.
Even though the tuna turned me off rules be rules, right? To hedge my bet, I got some Hamachi, and some scallops with my bowl, with the "original sauce", which was a slightly sweet soy, with sesame oil and a bit of acid.
In all honesty, the best part of the bowl was the edamame, avocado, and the sauce, which wasn't too cloying and didn't mess up any of the flavors. The Hamachi, while slightly mushy wasn't too bad; the scallops had no flavor and I really missed the briny sweetness of scallops. Everything else was fine; the rice, the almost namasu style cucumbers. I could have used a bit more onion, but that's ok.
In terms of portion size; I'd say that this regular bowl was in line with San Diego Poke Company; though there might have been a tad more seafood in this.
And while I do have an issue with the sign; especially the "Poki (or Poke)" portion and I think they've taken the "salad bowl" portion out of context. They should be made to read Rachel Laudan's fantastic The Food of Paradise especially if they think they're providing information.
Still, the folks here were quite nice; even the older gentleman, who I believe is probably the owner or some reasonable facsimile who tried with all his heart to get me to put seaweed salad on my bowl. So I made it a point to return, the next day as a matter of fact.
This time, I went with the Tuna, Albacore, and Hamachi, with the "Hot" sauce, which wasn't very hot in my opinion. I did like the fact that they don't over-sauce anything. I decided on half and half; rice and salad.
I liked the standard issue salad mix, though I wish these places would work on dressing the salad a bit if they're serving that. The rice was really bad this time around; dry and hard.
Ok, well, another one down. I'm getting a bit tired of all this saku fish. You know, I thought about asking how they named this place....but after consideration I decided not to since; if you'd compare this place to some of my favorites back home; it wouldn't even be one-third. So why bother? I actually prefer it to San Diego Poke Company, but that's not really saying much.
Please check out Kirbie's post on Poki One N Half here.
Poki One N Half
8055 Armour St
San Diego, CA 92111
Funny thing; I had a chat with Tommy from Catalina Offshore about all these poke places recently. He's decided not to do business with them, basically because it seems to be a "reverse arms race to see who can get away with serving the cheapest product possible." He also asked me if I was "insulted at the low quality and how they're defiling such a great food item that I have ties to." I told him that right now, I'd just be happy if they spelled "poke" correctly.
Anyway, I still think you might want to check this place out. The prices aren't bad and the folks are nice. And hey, if you live in North Park, you'll have a location near you soon.