Here in Fort Lauderdale, you can create your own burrito bowl, customize your flash-fired pizza pie, and now you can make your own poke platter, too.
Raw Poke Bar, a healthy, quick-service spot that serves customizable poke bowls and burritos, has opened up inside the Las Olas Chabad Jewish Center building next to Falafel Time. The new seafood-centric concept, which soft opened July 1, is also kosher, meaning it follows Jewish dietary laws.
One of the hottest food trends of 2016, poke—pronounced POH-kay—is a raw fish salad popular in Hawaii. Diced tuna is the standard, but at Raw Poke Bar in Fort Lauderdale, customers can choose from the traditional diced tuna, mashed tuna, salmon, krab (imitation crab sticks), or tofu.
Nowadays it’s not uncommon to see tuna poke as a starter on menus around South Florida, but Raw Poke Bar is unique in that it’s a standalone location focused solely on poke. Guests can choose a signature creation or create their own version from a toppings bar.
Owner Michael Ritzer, who also operates an artisanal gelato cart from Miami up to Palm Beach, first discovered poke with his wife while on vacation in Waikiki. They enjoyed the dish so much, Ritzer said, they ate it multiple times during their getaway and eventually decided to bring a poke concept to South Florida.
After going back out to California and Hawaii to do some research, Ritzer set out to open a location somewhere between Miami Beach and Delray. That’s when he came across the Fort Lauderdale spot.
“We happened to be walking in Las Olas and walked past the building, and I gave the rabbi a call,” he said.
Raw Poke Bar’s most popular signature blend is the Kona, a combination of spicy tuna, edamame, daikon radish, green onion, sesame seeds and spicy mayo. The Maui with salmon, avocado and mango, and the Lu’au with tuna and seaweed, however, are two of Ritzer’s personal favorites.
“Right now that it’s mango season, we have nice, fresh mango,” he said. “For me, it’s a split between the Lu’au and the Maui, depending on if I’m in the mood for salmon or tuna.”
Customers opting to create their own bowl or burrito—$11.95 for a regular, $13.95 for a large—can choose their base (white rice, brown rice or spring mix), protein (any of the aforementioned fish options or tofu), and sauce (spicy mayo, honey soy, and wasabi aioli, to name a few).
Then it’s on to the toppings, which include mango, avocado, cucumber, edamame peas, roasted seaweed and more. Finally, guests can top it all off with a crunchy add-on, like roasted sesame seeds, wasabi peas or crispy onions.
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, and is closed on Saturday. For updates, visit Raw Poke Bar’s Facebook page here.
Raw Poke Bar; 1304 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale