I need to admit something: I’ve fallen in love with poke. In spite of being trendy as hell and vaguely associated with ideas of wellness that I typically flee shrieking from, it’s so damn delicious that I can’t summon any quarrelsome, ideologically motivated rationale for not enjoying it.
Mostly rooted in and around Los Angeles, AhiPoki has locations as far as Phoenix and Seattle. Stepping into its Polk Street location — in a former David’s Tea — you know immediately that you’re in a chain because the decor is so sterile. But what’s in the bowl will always be more colorful by a factor of five, anyway, so that doesn’t rate much.
At AhiPoki, you can get a bowl of salad and rice with one scoop of fish for $8.95, two scoops for $10.95, and three for $12.95. That’s cheaper than at, say, the comparatively edgier Our Poke Place in the Mission, but the portions of fish are noticeably smaller at AhiPoki. You can’t get Flamin’ Hot Cheetos on your albacore, but the quality is high. Soft and delicate, the watermelon-colored tuna was a great base upon which to pile secondary options like kimchi shrimp or avocado-heavy tuna luau.
For toppings, only tamago and avocado cost extra, and if you run a little wild, the result is one of those rare meals that’s beautiful, fortifying, and delicious. (If I must complain, I would have liked a little extra seaweed salad.)
With the intent of eating Sushirrito’s lunch, you can get a $10.95 “Ahipokirrito” made with two scoops of fish and five toppings, but the real standout is much quieter. Opposite the main counter is a small freezer full of Brick Macaron Ice Cream sandwiches. Nicely packaged in a tiny cardboard contain lined with a square of wax paper, they’re as colorful as a more-is-more poke bowl.
Pricey and intensely subtle macarons are another Pinteresting phenomenon I always had a tough time getting behind. Admittedly, these little bites are $4.25 — but ice cream is a better vehicle for flavor than the filling of the standard cookies. The yellow-on-yellow mango sandwich was particularly tasty, with the almond meal cookie giving into the ice cream without seeming to melt or shrink into itself like ordinary macarons can.
Trendlines meet in unusual ways sometimes, I guess.
AhiPoki, 2123 Polk St., 415-658-7950 or ahipokibowl.com