Poke Bros proves delicious- but expensive


Clare Lanscioni, Food Columnist

A new lunch spot in Plaza Del Prado just opened for South students to enjoy customizable poke bowls. Poke Bros. serves Hawaiian poke bowls, usually assembled with a rice base and diced raw fish and toppings. From the soft rice bottom to the crisp fresh veggies and the flavorful protein to the final touches of a sauce and crunchy topping your poke bowl is made to your exact liking.

Right as I walked in I was transported to a bright and tropical place with welcoming people that made me forget about Glenview’s dreary weather. The workers added to this experience as I was greeted and helped through my whole order.

Upon my arrival, the restaurant seemed pretty empty, but as I was sitting several people came in and out since the ordering process is so efficient. With each order, the Poke employees replaced and refilled the ingredients, reinforcing to me the freshness of each topping. The restaurant was very clean and organized which helped its appeal as well.

The process of creating a bowl starts with a base of brown, white, sushi rice, or salad mix. Then, you select your protein with the option of a type of seafood or chopped chicken. You can pick raw ahi tuna, salmon, shrimp, squid salad, or chicken and a different marinade for some of the proteins. Next, there are 15 different ingredients to add (some for an additional charge) consisting of a variety of vegetables or other options like pineapple and tofu. 

Finally, you add your sauce and topping, which give that added crunchy texture. For example, adding sriracha mayo will give a creamy spicy taste to complete your final bite. Several other options are sweet soy sauce, coconut ginger sauce, wasabi aioli, crispy onions, sesame seeds, and tempura flakes.

When ordering you can create your own poke bowl or choose one of the six signature bowls, the most popular being named “The Duke”, which consists of tuna, salmon, and shrimp with various toppings. However, I created my own bowl that had sushi rice, marinated tuna, avocado, cucumbers, edamame, scallions, and wonton chips. The workers led me in the right direction and told me to add sweet soy sauce and sriracha aioli, which matched perfectly. 

As I dove into my bowl, the warm sushi rice coated my mouth with the sugar-vinegar liquid that seasoned it to perfection. The sweet acidic vinegar from the rice helped combine the light spiciness and salty umami flavor of the overall bowl. The different textures of the creamy avocado, the crisp thinly sliced cucumbers, bite of edamame, and the crunch of the wonton chips all created such a great mouthful. 

As well as my own bowl, I tasted my parents’ poke bowls. My mom ordered brown rice, and although that is a healthier option I would definitely choose the sushi rice since it has that slight sweet acidity and a sticky texture that brown rice lacks. Additionally, my mom added the spicy chicken which had some heat that I could have used in my own bowl. My dad got tofu and although it was marinated, it was not soaked enough to hold the marinade’s flavor. This is because silk tofu is too light and I felt it didn’t hold that much of a bite. I prefer a more firm tofu since it absorbs more flavor than the silk tofu Poke Bros. uses. 

My dad got seaweed salad in his bowl and he loved the salad, but I thought it overpowered the whole bowl. It had a strange flavor that I did not care for at all and although I have had seaweed before this is a completely different preparation, then the seaweed I usually eat in my sushi, which I happened to not like.  

Even though I didn’t like the salad, me and my parents were satisfied with our bowls. If there was anything I could change, it would be to make different bowl sizes because I felt it was too big for such a filling meal. Along with the size, there are a few ingredients I would like to add to the menu like shrimp or veggie tempura. Poke Bros. does have shrimp, but shrimp tempura would be a great addition as another crisp texture. Even if it isn’t shrimp tempura, veggie tempura would be another option for vegetarians to put in their poke.

Finally, the part I was most excited for was dessert. There were many mochi flavors I wanted to try, but I got strawberry, vanilla chocolate chip, and salted caramel. 

The vanilla looked a little freezer burned, but other than that they were a nice cold sweet dessert to finish the meal. The vanilla chocolate chip mochi was a great cooling sweet end to my dinner and the speckles of vanilla bean elevated the bite. Although I didn’t see or chew any chocolate, the slight flavor of it lingered in my mouth.

The strawberry was definitely my least favorite because I felt it was very mellow in flavor and bland.

My favorite was the salted caramel mochi since it was the most flavorful and right as your teeth sinked in the rich and deep layers of the caramel ice cream hit you.

Poke Bros. was great and being so close to South, it’s a convenient spot for lunch! The one downside is the price. A customizable bowl starts at $11.30, and depending on your choice of protein, the price can go up by $3.00 and potentially more depending on the toppings you choose. Even though it is a great meal and the ingredients are fresh, the expense might not be worth it for everyone. However, I would definitely recommend Poke Bros. for your next open lunch!