This summer, I’ve often found myself sitting on a classic N'awlins porch swing, looking up in awe, and sometimes even patting myself on the back for ending up in such a jungled metropolis—for this same metropolis has always remained on the maps, at least more so than my hometown in Virginia. You see, popular performers never make it to counties like Henrico, Virginia, and you can forget things like the frozen yogurt fad. So in New Orleans, not only do you get to exist like you’re living in the past, but you also benefit from the creative imaginings of the future. Poke, one of these unicorns of an idea, has exploded across NOLA this summer.
At the Grand Opening of LemonShark Poké (2901 Magazine St.), a chain that’s currently spreading across America, the owner introduced me to my very first poke burrito. Imagine you’re starving because you haven’t really eaten all day; a steak burrito sounds like way too much for your tiny belly. Lemonshark Poké is quite literally the quintessential answer to that exact conundrum, and I’m pretty sure it solves many more hunger dilemmas as well, given all the smiling, but full mouths in the naturally-lit new space.
Poke is most often a take on fresh sushi. The customers picks a base for their bowl (I like to get half sushi rice and half mixed greens), and then they choose a fish base, usually salmon or tuna (spicy or not). The ingredients are mixed together with specially procured sauces or drizzlings, and the customers get to pick from a wide array of various vegetables and sushi add-ons. The result is a delicious, fresh mix that doubles as a rice salad with a lot of yummy protein. I love to add mango to mine for a sweet taste to contrast the edamame.
That there is some competition cropping up around our city for the best sushi salad bowl can only be a good thing for New Orleanians, as this meal is a fairly inexpensive, quick delight that can keep you energized and full for the rest of the day. I can’t wait to go back—primarily to see all those happy faces at the register, excited about such a unicorn idea, but also, realistically, to introduce my friends to the “pokeritto” and to fill my belly again with fresh fish and vegetables.