downtown poke

New poke restaurant freshens up highly anticipated downtown Houston food hall

New poke restaurant freshens up highly anticipated downtown food hall

Seaside Poké Understory Houston
SeaSide Poké serves up fresh seafood in Understory. Photo courtesy of Seaside Poké

The food hall is here in Houston, and it appears there’s no stopping the concept. To wit: Finn Hall is a buzzing hub of activity during downtown lunch periods. Bravery Chef Hall comes online soon. And, over in downtown’s Capitol Tower development, Understory is set to be an energetic gathering spot that’s part community hub and part culinary market.

The development firm behind it, Skanska, just announced that SeaSide Poké will take up residence in the place, occupying a 948-square-foot spot in the space. That means diners can look forward to SeaSide’s island-inspired approach to the raw fish salad so emblematic of Hawaiian cuisine.

In taking up residence at Capitol Tower, SeaSide Poké will have two Houston locations; the restaurant already has a place at 2118 Lamar St. in EaDo. SeaSide makes it a point to use sustainably caught fish and source its ingredients from local purveyors, including Moonflower Farms, Plant it Forward Farms and Covey Rise Farms, which allows it to give a distinct Houston twist to its poke’s traditional Hawaiian and Asian roots.

Typically made with ahi tuna, soy sauce, green onions, sesame oil, onions, and sesame seeds, poke is a staple on appetizer lists throughout Hawaii. Over the decades, it’s made its way to the Mainland, and SeaSide’s menu includes multiple variations on the theme, including a bowl with salmon, ponzu, orange, edamame and garlic, and a spicy tuna bowl with puffed rice.

East Hampton Sandwich Co., Boomtown Coffee, Mama Ninfa’s Tacos y Tortas, MONA Fresh Italian Food, and Flip ‘n Patties have all joined SeaSide Poké in inking deals as Understory’s first tenants. The concept should open this summer at 800 Capitol Street.

“We are excited to add SeaSide Poké to our eclectic lineup of upscale food offerings at Understory. This addition compliments the vibrant and engaging community space we are creating at Capitol Tower in downtown Houston,” said Matt Damborsky, executive vice president for Skanska USA Commercial Development in Houston, in a press release announcing the opening. “We believe their fresh take on traditional Hawaiian cuisine and commitment to sourcing only the finest local ingredients will appeal broadly to all frequenting the area, and look forward to bringing their fresh poke bowls to the Central Business District when Understory opens this summer.”

Understory intends to be a “dynamic experience-based destination” bringing the community together through culture, commerce and cuisine. In addition to an abundance of naturally lit community space and a full-service restaurant, Understory’s culinary market offers chef-driven concepts and a cocktail bar.

Designed to blend downtown’s street scene and tunnel levels, one of Understory’s hallmarks will be the “Great Steps,” a 30-foot-wide monumental staircase and gathering place creating the first street-level gateway to the tunnel network. It will also be the first space in the tunnel network to be active seven days a week.

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SeaSide Poké, Understory; Capitol Tower, 800 Capitol St.