Assumed the poke craze was finally slowing down? Think again — if anything, it’s just attracting higher-end proponents.
Witness the Livanos hospitality group, behind the Bill Telepan-helmed Oceana, which is sticking with its fresh fish theme. Except at Oceana Poke, recently opened in Midtown, the interiors are considerably more casual (think eight orange stools and a takeout counter, instead of white linens, columns and sculpted chandeliers), and the offerings a lot more concise; compared to its big sibling’s crab cakes, lobster bolognese, and glittering shellfish plateaus.
Overseen by chef David Arias, specimens from the Fulton Fish Market are diced into marinated, Hawaiian-style bowls, from the signature Oceana poke comprised of Yellowfin Tuna, nori and edamame, to Salmon with kimchi and hazelnut, Swordfish with pineapple and cucumber, and Octopus with shitakes and sweet onions.
The eatery has also embraced the “build your own” model; allowing for alterna-bases like quinoa, squash noodles, green salad or a seaweed wrap, in lieu of the traditional rice. The fish adverse will find chicken, veggies or tofu, if they’re not especially feeling shrimp or raw scallops, and sides and sauces provide ample opportunity for poke personalization — look for candied almonds, taro chips and rice puffs, as well as white soy, avocado wasabi and yuzu aioli.
So don’t count out poke just yet — the fish bowl trendlet continues to win friends, and influence NYC’s fast-casual scene.