New eatery thinks outside the ‘poke box’

A La Carte Columns

February 5, 2017

Story By: Caitlin Basilio | Photos by: CAITLIN BASILIO

Small PokeBox with salmon, avocado, crab meat, ocean salad and furikake white rice ($7.99).

Small PokeBox with salmon, avocado, crab meat, ocean salad and furikake white rice ($7.99).

Eating poke in Hawaii just became more fun than ever thanks to the new takeout spot Poke & Box, located in Makai Market Food Court at Ala Moana Center.

Poke is the ultimate Hawaiian food, and while the 50th State is famous for its poke bowls, those who visit Poke & Box can now enjoy the classic mix of raw fish and seasonings in a new way with their very own PokeBox.

After selecting their preferred size — small, medium or large — patrons can customize their PokeBox as they make their way down a fresh-fish assembly line.

Poke & Box is nestled within Ala Moana's Makai Market Food Court. A. CONSILLIO PHOTO

Poke & Box is nestled within Ala Moana’s Makai Market Food Court. A. CONSILLIO PHOTO

“It’s just a different and fun way to eat fresh fish,” says general manager Lauren Yoo. “Instead of serving poke bowls, I wanted a container where I could put the fish on the side of the hot rice instead of on top so that the fish doesn’t cook. Plus, fresh fish tastes better when it’s cold.”

An integral part of the customizable boxes is the PokeBoxMix selection of fresh ahi, salmon, scallops, shrimp, tako, tofu and cooked chicken. The small option includes one PokeBoxMix and two PokeTops (toppings and sides) for $7.99; the medium offers two PokeBoxMixes and three PokeTops for $9.99; and the large comes with three PokeBoxMixes and three PokeTops for $14.99.

Additionally, patrons choose from rice (white or brown) or salad, and flavorful ingredients to mix in with their poke, such as green onions, raw onions, imitation crab and cucumber. Then, they can finish it off with a delicious sauce, whether it be shoyu, go chu jang, wasabi mustard, hot spice, Aja spicy shoyu, creamy sesame, mild spicy or very spicy.

Medium PokeBox with fresh ahi, tako and an array of sides ($9.99).

Medium PokeBox with fresh ahi, tako and an array of sides ($9.99).

Yoo initially got the idea to offer a variety of sauces for her poke when she worked with a diverse range of people about 10 years ago. “We were all from different places — Japan, Korea, Spain and Italy — and were talking about how we each ate our sashimi,” says Yoo, who also runs the beloved Aja Sushi & Bento next door. “For example, the Japanese eat their sashimi with wasabi and shoyu, while Koreans eat it with the go chu jang; the Spanish eat it with ceviche and the Italians with carpaccio.”

This variety of ethnic influences comes together at Poke & Box, where diners can enjoy picking and choosing their types of fish, sides, toppings and sauces, all to create the perfect mouthwatering meal.

Poke & Box

Ala Moana Center,
Makai Market Food Court,
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
394-7633
Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

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