What is Poke? No, we're not referring to the old Facebook button where you could "poke" somebody as you looked like a virtual creeper to the max (it's still a thing, we checked).
We're referring to the dish that consists of marinated pieces of tuna cut into cubes.
Though it has been popular in Hawaii for a long time, poke has finally reached our shores, amassing crowds of fans who flock to restaurants at the mere mention of the dish.
Poke literally translates from the Hawaiian verb meaning, "to section, slice, or cut," according to Bon Appetit, and although fish (primarily tuna) is typically the main ingredient of the dish, it can refer to anything that has been sectioned.
It's most easily described as a raw seafood salad, as the chunked pieces are then marinated in a sauce that can be made from pretty much anything (though traditionally within the savory category) and topped with other accompaniments.
Here are some of our favorite poke dishes in NYC.
1. Noreetuh (128 1st Avenue)
megjoneswall such a joy to shoot such beautiful food, like this gorgeous poke bowl from @noreetuh in the east village
This modern, casual Hawaiian restaurant is offering Chef Chung Chow's interpretation of popular Hawaiian dishes with a subtle New York flair. We're obsessed with Noreetuh's pineapple glazed pork belly, but only after we've had the big-eye tuna poke.
Chef Chow makes his poke using big-eye tuna, one of the two species of tuna that fall under the umbrella heading of "ahi," with the other species being yellowfin tuna. His poke also uses macadamia nuts (traditionally a major crop of Hawaii), pickled jalapeños, and seaweed.
2. Pokéworks (63 West 37th Street)
margerose Finally got my poke fix
Think Chipotle meets poke minus the whole food safety issues, and you've got one of the hottest fast casual restaurants in NYC. Though it's not very traditional (Pokéworks includes rice in their dishes), it's still delicious, nutritious, and fast.
You've got to try their "Umami Classic" with ahi tuna, green & sweet onions, cucumber, hijiki seaweed, umami shoyu, and roasted sesame oil.
Once you've gotten a taste of poke, go for their make your own option, where you can make your own bowl, salad, or pokirrito. Yep, a poke burrito. It's pretty much a giant sushi burrito roll made with poke, in other words, a meal straight form our wildest dreams.
3. Seamore's (390 Broome Street)
p1foodbox Pokē, mon. 🐳
When you're in Little Italy, there's only one place you really must go to: Seamore's. Sure, you can dine at an overpriced tourist trap, or you can dine at a place dishing up incredibly fresh, flavorful fish on a daily basis. We're going to go with the latter.
When you're at Seamore's you have to try the poke appetizer for the table. It's made with tuna, ponzu (a citrus-seasoned soy sauce), peanuts, and avocado. Simplicity is key for Seamore's poke, and we are a-okay with that.,
4. Onomea (84 Havemeyer Street - Brooklyn)
sblendidnyc Ahi Poke. With just a single cube, it's hard to not be transported straight back to Kahuku. Ono grindz. #poke #ahi #tuna #hawaiian #hawaiianfood #sashimi #kahuku #Brooklyn #NYC #delicious #tasty #happy #instafood #foodgram
When it's as cold and dreary out as it has been the past few days, sometimes you need a tropical pick me up, which is exactly what a meal at Onomea will give you, especially when you order the poke.
Onomea's poke is made with ahi tuna, white onions, seaweed, green onions, and sesame seeds with a hint of spice and tang.
5. Beauty & Essex (146 Essex Street)
latina The real winner of #sb50 is these tuna wonton nachos with avocado pico de gallo @beautyandessexnyc. #superbowl 📷: @yvesy
Since poke has become so popular in NYC, it's no surprise that chefs are already putting their own creative spin on the traditional Hawaiian snack.
If you're a fan of poke, you've got to try the tuna poke wanton tacos at Beauty & Essex. They're made with micro cilantro, radish, and wasabi kewpie (a spicy mayo).
6. Sons of Thunder (204 East 38th Street)
jasonscheeks All the poké! #🐼🔑
As the first restaurant primarily devoted to poke in NYC, it's certainly one of the best, if not the best, poke restaurants in the city. All of their food is made to order with culinary inspirations from the west coast and Hawaii. Though they do serve hot dogs, their poke is the star of this show.
We love Sons of Thunder's half and half option, where you can choose two of their poke options for your meal. Of course the tuna and salmon are obvious favorites, but their tako (or octopus) poke is also incredible.
Check out 8 Super Cozy Restaurants in NYC.[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]