Houston is in the midst of full on poke fever. In neighborhoods across the city, people are lining up to sample the dish, which is essentially a raw fish salad that diners can customize as they see fit with any number of traditional (onion, cucumber, avocado) and creative (apple, Cheetos) toppings.
On Tuesday, Pokéworks, one of New York City's favorite poke destinations, joined the mix. It replaces a shuttered WhichWich at 213 Heights Boulevard.
Like other poke shops, Pokéworks allows diners to create bowls to suit their tastes from seven different proteins (including tofu and chicken for non-seafood eaters), 11 different mix-ins, eight sauces, and nine toppings. If that's too overwhelming, the company has tapped former Top Chef contestant Sheldon Simeon to create bowls inspired by his Hawaiian heritage.
The restaurant's other twist is that diners don't have to get their poke in a bowl. For maximum portability, opt for a poke burrito that wraps the ingredients in sushi rice and toasted seaweed.
Back in April, manager Jay Gerber told CultureMap that the restaurant's Instagram-friendly presentations and vibrant flavors drew him to the concept. “I finally got that chance to go to New York, (where I) visited the very first location and tried it out for myself,” Gerber wrote in an email. “That experience far exceeded my expectations and I knew right then and there that I had to bring it back to my hometown.”
Although it's the restaurant's first Texas location, don't expect it to be the last. The company plans to open 70 additional stores by the end of 2020; surely Houston will be in the mix.
Pokéworks, 213 Heights Boulevard, Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.