Is the Poke bowl, the new Lunchtime favorite dish?

First it was the burger, sandwiches, then small plates, now what?! As the seasons pass so do peoples’ favorite lunch items. The challenge many face is what to eat at lunch that is tasty, satisfying, and of course HEALTHY! Lunch is meant to be a break in the workday, the meal you eat should fuel you through the last half of the workday and the many tasks you have once you get home.

Lighter lunches have been trending in the past couple of years. Siding on the light side allows you to get that fuel, however, if it is too light you might be heading to the snack drawer or pantry for a 4pm treat. So what options are available for lunch that can fill and fuel you without making you feel groggy.   Well, have you tried POKE? Poke is a great lunch meal option or even a deliciously light starter for dinner. Let’s take a closer look at this new menu item “POKE”.

What is Poke?

Poke comes from Hawaii and is a raw fish dish seasoned with Japanese flavors like soy sauce, green onions, and sesame oil. The raw fish typically used is, Yellowfin tuna, however, options like octopus, salmon, and various shellfish can be substituted.

The Poke you see today is quite different from the traditional version, which was a freshly deboned and filleted whole raw fish served with condiments like sea salt and seaweed. Today’s version comes from the 1970’s, where the raw fish is chopped finer with added ingredients like chili peppers, nuts, onion, avocados, and tomatoes. Today, Poke is so popular some restaurants only have poke on their menus.

What we learn from this history lesson is that high quality raw seafood is needed for the basis of this dish.

What makes a Poke bowl?

The anatomy of a poke bowl consists of fresh high quality ingredients layered upon each other to create the perfect umami. Let’s start from the bottom and build this dish up.


The initial layer should be perfectly puffed rice.   There are numerous ways to flavor this puffed rice whether it’s with traditional Japanese flavors like soy or exotic flavors like coconut. Let your imagination run wild!

The Second layer should be some kind of seasoning. Some like Furikake, a dry Japanese seasoning that consists of dried fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar, and salt. Bonito flakes that are dried and usually smoke tuna flakes with salt and pepper can also be used. It’s up to you what you like as for the seasoning in the end. But both of these options definitely lend to layered flavors of a true Poke bowl.

Poke is next! The most important of all layers…this varies with your tastebuds…whether it’s yellow fin tuna, octopus, salmon, or even lightly seared steak for the meatlover. Each of these raw proteins are delicately flavored with herbs, spices, and sauces.

Top the bowl off with a lasting layer of crunch and ocean flavor. Some like a mixture of sesame seeds, nori, and onions but the combination is basically endless. If you have ingredients that are crunchy and salty, they most likely work for this layer.

At Catch 35, Seafood and Premium Steaks, our chefs have their hands on the highest quality seafood and steaks available. We have taken the whole Poke concept and worked it to fit our customers’ appetites. Currently, Catch 35 offers up for lunch and dinner a more traditional version of Poke with Yellowfin Tuna, ginger, chilies, nori, avocado, macadamia nuts, and soy sauce on a bed of white rice. Coming soon to a Catch 35 near you, Downtown Chicago Loop or Downtown Naperville, The Salmon Poke and for the meatlover……Filet Mignon Poke. Our chefs are tailoring the poke to suit both land and sea lover’s appetites.

Who knows…. maybe POKE will be your new lunchtime favorite dish at Catch 35!   It is the perfect balance of protein, grains, and vegetables. The flavors are spot on and it is not too light and too heavy as a midday meal. Join us at Catch 35 for your next business lunch or casual get together.