The Mountain View Poké Bar, slated to open this Sunday, Nov. 1 at the 340 Castro St. market, will be the owners’ first location in Northern California. They'll open before Pokéworks, an almost identical restaurant concept set to open just down Castro Street later this year.
Poké Bar co-founder/owner Yoon Ju has run a sushi restaurant in Southern California for close to three decades with his family. During his time there, poké, the Hawaiian appetizer made with raw fish, became one of the restaurant’s most popular items, said Erica Kim, Poké Bar’s communications person.
"That combined with the rise in popularity of sushi and raw fish in Los Angeles, as well as the need for Angelenos to obtain fresh, healthy food in a timely manner to accommodate their busy lifestyle, gave way to this concept of a grab and go style of restaurant," Kim wrote in an email.
Ju teamed up with Jason Park, who owns a pizza chain restaurant called Fat Tomato, and another restaurant owner, Chris Lim, to open the first Poké Bar in West Hollywood. Other Poké Bars have since opened in Long Beach, Studio City and Eagle Rock. The owners are now eyeing a new location in San Francisco and elsewhere in the "general Bay Area," Kim said.
Much like Pokéworks, Poke Bar serves create-your-own poke combinations. Start by choosing your base (brown or white rice, spring lettuce mix or nacho-style with tortilla chips) and then your poké (various marinated combinations of tuna, salmon and tofu mixed with ingredients like green onion, sesame seeds and cucumber).
Opt for more toppings, if you'd like, from quinoa and crispy garlic to mango, blueberries and macadamia nuts.
Sides include edamame (spicy and regular), miso soup, seaweed salad, cucumber salad and rice. Check out the full menu here, or head to the West Hollywood restaurant's Yelp to get a visual.
Follow Poké Bar's social media accounts this week and on Sunday of for special opening discounts.