Poke in Montrose
From Hawaii to Houston: Finally, poke restaurant arrives in Montrose
Located in the former Bowl Cafe space on Richmond, Ono Poke is a small restaurant with about half a dozen tables inside and an adjacent patio. The look is clean and bright, with white walls and a bright green panel containing the restaurant's name.
The restaurant's signature dish, a raw fish salad that's typically served over rice with vegetables and other toppings, can be ordered Chipotle style. Diners choose from one of six pre-determined combination or may build their own by choosing a base (white rice, brown rice, or chips), a protein (salmon, tuna, shrimp, or yellowtail), one of six sauces, and toppings. Those range from expected items like sesame seeds and the Japanese seasoning Furikake to jalapenos and crushed Hot Cheetos. Avocado, seaweed salad, and imitation crab are all available for those willing to pay $0.50 or $1 more.
Prices are pretty reasonable. A small bowl starts at $10.50, and a large is $11.95. Non-alcoholic beverages, sides, and mochi ice cream round out the menu.
To satisfy my curiosity, I ordered two small bowls. The first is the restaurant's signature Ono Poke (pronounced "POH-keh") that mixes salmon and tuna with a sweet and tart "Ono Sauce," onions, cucumbers, green onions, sesame seeds, nori strips, and Furikake. An employee recommended a shrimp bowl with spicy shoyu sauce and similar toppings to which I added seaweed and imitation crab.
Either of the small bowls would have contained enough food to make for a light, satisfying lunch, but I would expect to pay the additional fee for the larger portion at dinner. The fish had a firm texture and flavor similar to what one would expect at good but less expensive sushi restaurant. Assuming the restaurant isn't totally overwhelmed by customers wanting to get in on the trend, I'll be back to try some of the other sauce and topping combinations.