It’s 11:00 in the morning and I am anxiously waiting to try the food at The Poke Lab restaurant; they are scheduled to open their doors for the first time in 30 minutes. Owner Joey Nguyen is feverishly instructing employees, setting up the POS system and multi tasking like a mad scientist.
Standing with me is local restaurateur, Kevin Phillips, owner of Beach House Restaurant at Lovers Point and Abalonetti Seafood among other fine establishments. Through conversation I found out that Kevin became a huge fan of Poke in Hawaii. He turned out to be The Poke Labs first customer today. Lucky for us we were able to get in early, as I needed to capture photos for this piece. As the doors opened a line had formed outside. It was my turn and I mentally threw on my Poke Lab coat.
There is a method to this madness and the following is the breakdown: First your foundation options: sushi rice, brown rice or green salad. Next, select sashimi-quality seafood: spicy tuna, salmon, tuna, yellow tail, octopus or shrimp. All served raw except for the shrimp. Then followed by cucumbers and green onions and topped off with a signature, mild, or spicy. Throw in a side of spicy mayo if so inspired. Last but not least, are all the topping options: avocado, crab meat, green onions, eggs, seaweed, sesame seeds, wasabi, ginger or, better yet, go for it all! I like things on the spicy side so I had the spicy sauce, hot mustard and Sriracha added to mine.
This was my first Poke ever and I must admit it was awesome! The Poke Lab is located at 475 Alvarado Street in Monterey next to the Bull and Bear Taphouse.