Poke Bop rides the wave of “hokey” poke hitting Dallas shores, but succeeds on its own merits

Poke is not “a bowl or roll comprised of protein (often raw fish, a la sushi), healthy fruits or vegetables and sauce atop rice,” as one food blog recently articulated it. But don’t tell that to the crashing wave of “poke” shops opening across DFW.

Hawaiians will tell you that poke (pronounced “po-keh” and means “to slice or cut”) refers to a dish that’s usually a mix of bite-sized pieces of raw, fresh fish mixed with kukui nuts, seaweed, sweet onions and seasonings. No rice. No salad greens.

Purists aside, though, chefs from LA to NYC are taking liberties with poke, mixing in fruits or herbs, subbing octopus or swordfish for traditional tuna, and sometimes opting for tofu instead of seafood altogether.

Regardless of what you call it, one new Dallas restaurant in particular is doing a mighty fine job blending authentic elements with — god help us — rice and salad greens.

Capitalizing on his three-decade experience as a sushi chef Tommy Hwang (pictured) recently launched Poke Bop in a spare strip shop south of Highland Park. Hunks of raw ahi, fresh salmon and cured salmon (plus land based proteins) can be ordered as customizable bowls or even as seaweed-wrapped burritos, new-wave Chipotle style. Add a scoop of green tea-infused rice, sea salt, scallion, sweet onion, and lacy ogo seaweed, then top it all with a sprinkling of furikake, order a Japanese beer or sake, then settle down for a damn good bowl of hokey poke.