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The new branch of Poki Time opened last week in the Cow Hollow neighborhood, taking over the KFC space on Lombard and Fillmore for the next year or so.
I gave it a try over the weekend, sliding in shortly before the 9pm close. The staff were friendly and eager to share the poke love. I was impressed that they welcomed a few customers who wandered in after closing time and still served them.
Ordering is via a reusable, laminated menu card offered at the start of the line. Customers check off options using a marker. The "original" sauce is sesame-shoyu.
I needed to study the overhead menu too. Some of the seafood are labeled by country of origin though I have to mention that the "wild caught blue crab meat" looked more like surimi to me.
Then the bowl is assembled Chipotle-style with a big selection of toppings. No limu here, which is what to me makes poke the real deal, though there is a seaweed salad mix. After everything that was on my menu card had been added, I was offered two others, fried onions and furikake.
My fish choice, yellowtail, was cut into inch-wide cubes and had a lot of bloodline flesh. That's too thick to absorb enough of the sauce. The sauce itself was missing something. Toppings were fresh and plentiful, and I really liked the crispy fried onions. The blob of wasabi paste was not a good way to introduce it to the mix, better to incorporate into the sauce when the fish is tossed. Mixed greens as the sole base made for too much vegetation once toppings were added. I should have ordered half rice and half greens.
I have mixed feelings about Poki Time. On the negative side, this is far from my ideal poke. On the other hand, it's a big bowl of fresh food served fast and a place to sit for less than $11. I did like it better than the overrated tuna poke at Chubby Noodle down the street.
2101 Lombard Street
San Francisco, CA
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