One of Palo Alto’s newest phenomena is Poke — Raw fish salad served as Hawaiian cuisine. With many poke restaurants popping up around the Bay, I went to the local Poke Love to try what it had to offer.
Right off the bat, I was surprised by the length of the line — Roughly 15 people stood in front of me to order. However, the line flew by and the staff was very friendly. The restaurant is buffet style, with people choosing their toppings from a broad range of selections. The atmosphere is open, with glass windows letting the light stream into the store. While the seating space is small, chairs and tables line the outside path so you can breathe the fresh air while you’re eating.
I first ordered a half-sushi/half-rice combo with sesame poke and toppings including mayo sauce, edamame, tuna, kimchi and crab mix. While the fish did not taste fresh, the bowl was very filling overall. The spicy tuna contrasted with the lightly salted edamame to balance out the opposing tastes, and the dish overall was a mix of varying flavors. I particularly enjoyed the sauces, which added tanginess, and the fresh crab.
I also tried a half-salad/half-sushi rice meal with cooked tuna and chicken, adding corn, kimchi, edamame and cucumber as toppings. Once again the meal was filling, but the rice was too sticky and the kimchi was overly sour. In addition, the salad was somewhat bitter. However, the chicken was scrumptious and the flavors once again blended together.
Town & Country is known for its expensive restaurants, and Poke Love appears to be an exception. Its poke bowls ranged from $7 to $10 compared to the $10 to $20 price range of nearby restaurants. In addition, the prices were inexpensive considering the amount of food offered. Each bowl had a hefty amount of salad, meat and condiments.
Poke isn’t for everyone, and I am not sure if I will return to Poke Love again. However, its inexpensive and interesting options make the restaurant one of the most unique in Palo Alto.