Poke Star, a new chain fast-casual restaurant, has opened at 947 Hanes Mall Boulevard.
The restaurant is in a small strip center flanked by a Qdoba Mexican Grill and a Sprint store. The location, roughly between Lowe’s Home Improvement and Costco, formerly housed a Which Wich sandwich restaurant.
Poke Star offers counter service and quick assembly of a selection of poke bowls while you watch.
Poke (which is pronounced PO-kay and rhymes with OK) is a Hawaiian style of eating diced, usually raw, fish combined with a handful of other fresh ingredients in a bowl.
Poke has been gaining popularity in the United States just as interest in bowl concepts has grown with Americans’ interest in lighter, healthier alternatives to burger spots and other typical fast-food restaurants.
Poke Star is owned by Yuqing (Jessica) Chen, who also recently opened a Poke Star in Clemson, S.C.
Poke Star offers six traditional bowls, and allows customers to create their own as employees create meals in front of customers’ eyes, much like Subway.
Poke Star offers raw salmon and tuna, plain and marinated, but also sells cooked shrimp, chicken, tofu and vegetable bowls.
The Hawaiian Bowl ($12) features marinated tuna, seaweed salad, masago, green onion, sweet onion, OG sauce and ponzu sauce.
OG sauce is Poke Star’s house sauce featuring soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger and sesame oil.
The Volcano Bowl ($12.50) combines tuna, salmon and shrimp with edamame, cucumber, seaweed salad, jalapeno, sweet onion, OG saudce, ponzu sauce and gochujang.
The Surf Bowl ($11) combines chicken and shrimp with edamame, cucumber, carrots, green onions, avocado, pineapple, corn, OG sauce, sriracha aioli and sweet soy sauce.
For all bowls, customers can choose a base of white rice, brown rice, salad or wonton chips. To create a bowl ($7.50 to $11), customers choose protein to go with the base. Protein choices include tofu, ahi tuna, spicy tuna, marinated tuna, salmon, shrimp and chicken. People also can order “half & half” bowl of two types of protein for $11, or get an extra portion of protein added to any bowl for $3 more.
Along with the base and protein, customers also get to choose from a selection of ingredients, sauces and toppings.
Ingredients include cucumber, pineapple, carrots, crab stick, avocado and seaweed salad.
Sauces include coconut ginger, sriracha aioli, gochujang and wasabi aioli.
Toppings include sesame seeds, tempura flakes, crispy onions and crushed cashew nuts.
In addition to bowls, Poke Star sells sides of seaweed salad ($3) and spicy kani salad ($3.59), which consist of shredded crab stick (imitation crab), cucumber, masago (fish roe), tempura flakes and sriracha aioli.
For dessert, mochi ice cream is available for $5. Beverages include a selection of sodas.
The menu does not give calories but most of the menu items are low-calorie and low-fat. The menu also makes notes of the handful of items containing gluten.