Noted as one of the best places to eat in the U.S. by Yelp, Da Poke Shack's original eatery first opened in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii Island. For poke and Hawaiian food lovers you will be happy to hear that they have expanded to Oahu. The 2nd Hawaii location is a bit odd as it's at the corner of a very popular intersection that isn't known for food. You've got a furniture store on the makai side and a bank on the other. But, what you will be happy to hear is that the poke is super duper fresh, the service is full of aloha and I did a taste test to determine my favorite style of poke. So I did all the hard work for you. Just kidding, it's a matter of personal preference but I will break it down for you in this post.
When ordering you choose your portion-size (bowl, plate, sampler) then pick your style of poke. Here's the list of gourmet poke options: Shoyu, Dynamite served with an avocado aioli, Shack's Special with a honey miso, Creamy Garlic and wasabi, Wet Hawaiian which has inamona and sesame oil, Pele's Kiss which is a spicy tuna.
After choosing the portion size and the poke you also pick your starch and your sides. It's just like the super market counter where you tell them what you want and they make it for you/pack it for you.
The sides include: cabbage kimchi, California roll couscous, taegu, seaweed salad, kimchi tako, teriyaki calamari or boiled soybeans. You also have a choice between white or brown rice for your starch.
I have always been an advocate for brown rice, I know some people just can't stand the taste, but I like it and when given the option usually order brown. They also offer one of scoop of each (with or without furikake) if you want to be "good and bad."
I opted for the cucumber kimchi for the nice flavor and crunch. The California roll couscous was good but didn't really have a cali roll flavor, it was more of a imitation crab and vinegar taste, but it was really delicious. The cucumber was very mild and didn't have too much kimchee spiciness but also more of a pickled flavor as well.
May taste test is complete. After sampling all six poke flavors I have a clear winner and one runner-up. But as they say they are all winners. Each does deserve to win and it really depends on your palate, what your craving at the moment and ultimately what type of poke you like. I tend to like poke that is simple, but sometimes I crave something with a bit more flavor. I also like poke that doesn't have fish, like the Tanioka's tofu poke with sea asparagus - BOMB! Anyway, the clear winner of my Da Poke Shack Honolulu taste test is the Shack Special. The silky poke is topped with a sweet and savory sauce and mixed delicately then topped with furikake, super delicious and I loved every bite. As soon as I tasted it I knew this was the clear winner. The runner-up is the Pele's Kiss, a spicy tuna that isn't too spicy has a balance of flavor and not too much creaminess. I like to be able to take the tuna without having to sift through all the mayo and this one is a very well done poke!
If you are headed into town and are in the Kakaako to Ala Moana area swing by Da Poke Shack Honolulu and get a taste of true, local-style, gourmet poke served with lots of aloha!
Da Poke Shack Honolulu
Open Monday - Friday 10:30am-3pm
Located at the Diamond Head corner of Ward and Queen Street
They are also excited to do speciality events, street festivals can catering too.