Reviewing the new health hotspot The Poké Box

Photo by Sadman Sakib Rahman

Despite what you might think, one can not just “live the Poké Life”.

It requires years of dedication and hard work to catch them all – from collecting Pokémon cards as a kid to secretly playing the video games even today … oh wait, wrong poké.

The trendy poké these days can be found at the recently opened Poké Box in Waterloo, which offers a fresh perspective on the new healthy eating trend.

The whole menu focuses around bowls, rolls and tacos — which are then filled with veggies, rice and fish. The restaurant primarily offers raw fish. While this can be an attraction for some, the idea of raw fish can be a deterrence for others.

The reason I don’t prefer the store to chains, however, is their overall lack of selection on the menu. Poké itself is limited in the type of food it can utilize, and as a result, their own gimmick restricts the restaurant.

In addition to this, I felt the overall quality of the ingredients in the bowl could have been improved, specifically the well promoted fish.

The sheer amount of stuff that was fit into the bowl was impressive, yet also a little overwhelming. I felt as though the focus on diversity in the bowl ended up being mostly rice and a scattering of toppings.

Having lukewarm, raw fish reminds me a bit too much of the fish swimming around in water then I’d like. Besides this, however, the combination of flavours complimented each other and blended into the dish well.

The restaurant itself offers a unique feel or atmosphere; this is in part because since its opening it’s always been busy. What this means is it is a place to see people come and go, not necessarily a place to study. But it allows a group of friends a place to go when they need break from bingeing Netflix, which I feel is a definite plus.

The bowl I ate was one of the more popular options called the Big Umami. The bowl was composed of salmon, ahi, sweet Onion, avocado, seaweed salad, tempura bits, house shoyu, waikiki, cabbage, furikake and green onion.

The sheer amount of stuff that was fit into the bowl was impressive, yet also a little overwhelming. I felt as though the focus on diversity in the bowl ended up being mostly rice and a scattering of toppings.

There is, however, an option to make your own customizable bowl, including a vegetarian bowl, which may solve that problem.

For the inexperienced Poké-er I would recommend looking at the menu and choosing one you think you would like or simply ask the staff for a popular suggestion. Then once you have gained some experience with the flavours and different types, branch out and be adventurous by building one you can call your own.

As a whole, I felt this restaurant offered a refreshing addition to the current health trend and I do think it was a positive overall experience. Coming from Hawaiian cuisine, it does do a good job of reminding you of warm beaches and relaxing islands, which I think is something we could all use a little — or a lot — of right now. So if you’re in the mood, surf’s up and go try a Poké bowl.

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