Sometimes, the instant omnipresence of certain food trends gives a person pause. Unlike, say, Sriracha — whose dominance was a long time coming — the wave of poke that swept the Bay Area beginning last year was almost eerie in its breadth and speed.
Bowls of marinated fish make sense, no question. Fast-casual is everywhere, and California’s proximity to Hawaii makes for an easy jumping-off point for staple foods of the ’āina. Plus, colorful poke is highly Instagrammable.
With isolated exceptions, though, I’ve found that one poke place is typically interchangeable from another, and there are few things more boring than that. A stop into Our Poke Place, open for about two weeks on 20th Street just west of Mission, showed that not everybody wants to play it safe. (Also, the wifi name is “Are you down with OPP?” and the password is an easily guessed response to that question. Pure rebellion.)
Things start out pretty standard, with bases like brown rice, sushi rice, mixed greens, or sunomono (cucumber salad), and choices between three scoops of fish and two toppings, or four and three. Advance to your fish selection, of which there are eight, including octopus, ahi tuna, and a “traditional mix” shipped from Hawaii. Then there are toppings: cucumber, sweet corn, masago, crab meat, and the like.
From there, you can really lard things up with extra goodies. Abandoning all restraint in favor of a more-is-more approach, Our Poke Place has a pineapple ponzu sauce, strawberries, ikura, macadamias, tamago, and seaweed salad — and that’s in addition to the tofu, nori, avocado, edamame, and other, more commonplace, add-ons.
There are also Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. While I was initially embarrassed at how crucial the Cheetos were to enjoying my $16.61 polychromatic bowl of poke, it’s less because of the heat or any intrinsic flavor than because they were the only dry, crunchy ingredient with any volume to speak of. It’s hard not to feel fortified by the bounty of land and sea after such a nourishing lunch, but oh my God, the Cheetos.
Our Poke Place, 3515 20th St., 415-624-3029, facebook.com/OurPokePlace