Philacatessen | Red Poke New Addition to Casual Dining Scene

Photos by Keri White

Red Poke (rhymes with OK) at the corner of Second and South streets in Philadelphia offers a healthy, fresh take on a Hawaiian staple.

The menu is simple: bowls, burritos and miso soup. But the variety afforded in the bowls and burritos offers an incredible array of flavors, textures and combinations.

“Poke” is a Hawaiian word meaning “to cut crosswise” and refers to a fish salad served atop rice. Red Poke offers white or brown rice as the base, as well as baby greens for carb-avoidant customers. The menu contains several “signature bowls,” which offer various combinations of fish, vegetables, seaweed, toppings and sauces.

Ingredients are arranged immaculately in bins behind the counter where poke-masters assemble them quickly and dexterously. They include tuna, yellowtail, salmon, tofu, edamame, cucumbers, mango, carrots, onion and radish — to name a few.

Diners can select from one of the prearranged combinations such as the Spicy Volcano Bowl — my delectable lunch — which contained tuna, yellowtail, jalapenos, cucumbers, seaweed, yuzu wasabi sauce and onion crisps. Or, they can assemble their own, choosing a base, proteins, mix-ins, sauce, toppings and crunch.

The burritos offer a wide array of choices and combos, and feature a gluten-free seaweed wrap. The ingredients are all-natural, and contain no corn syrup. Service is friendly and helpful, and the owners made a successful effort to demystify the process for this poke novice.

Red Poke is not certified kosher, but there are no dairy or meat ingredients used in the facility. There are some inherently non-kosher options, such as shrimp and crab, but these can be easily avoided.

Prices are quite reasonable, especially given the quality and cost of the ingredients; the dishes range from $9.75 to $13.95, and each meal is hearty and sustaining.

From now until June 30, Red Poke is offering 10 percent off as a grand-opening promotion.

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