Pittsburgh Poke brings the trendy Hawaiian raw fish salad known as poke right to the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. This spot serves up super fresh build your own sushi bowls and burritos, perfect for a healthy lunch on the go.
We visited Pittsburgh Poke on a Friday evening not that long before they closed. We were a little apprehensive as the place seemed shutting down and there weren't that many patrons, but we're glad we followed through as the meal ended up being surprisingly delicious.
That said, given that this spot closes at 7 PM on week nights, it definitely seems geared more for the weekday downtown lunch crowd.
Fast, Casual Seafood at Pittsburgh Poke
This spot is set up like many other fast casual restaurants where all the ingredients are laid out before you, and you go down the line telling them what you'd like in your dish.
At Pittsburgh Poke you start with a base of rice, quinoa, or lettuce, and then add on your choice of two proteins from a wide range of raw seafood, cooked seafood, chicken, or tofu.
Next you can fill it up with veggies of your choice, drizzle it with sauces like eel sauce or spicy mayo, and finally top with accompaniments like crunchy fried onions, pickled ginger, wasabi, or seaweed salad.
If the thought of making all of these decisions is intimidating, they do offer some signature poke bowls and burritos to take out all of the guesswork. During lunch time they also offer hot food including a variety of Thai dishes, but the hot bar was closed on our Friday evening visit.
Burrito or Traditional Bowl? Why Not Both!
We tried one each of the poke bowl and poke burrito. The burrito was basically a monster sushi roll, combining two of our favorite foods into one.
We opted for white rice, spicy tuna, salmon, veggies, and spicy mayo. The result was a sushi burrito with a pleasant amount of heat and stuffed to the gills with rice, fish, and veggies.
For the poke bowl we opted for brown rice with shrimp, raw tuna, loads of veggies, spicy mayo, the house poke sauce, crispy onions, and edamame.
We were only going to get the spicy mayo as the sauce, but our server recommended adding the house poke sauce which ended up making the dish. It's a soy based sauce with a hint of sweetness, and it permeated the whole bowl to provide a great accompaniment to the seafood.
The shrimp in the bowl were the super tiny kind of shrimp, but other than that we loved everything about this bowl including how incredibly filling it was.
When comparing the burrito vs. the bowl, although they were the same price it seemed like the bowl was a better value as it was slightly larger. It's hard to say no to a sushi burrito, though, at least if you've never had one before.
Although we felt out of place visiting on a Friday night, this spot seems perfect for those working downtown looking for a quick lunchtime option.
Overall this spot doesn't earn any ambiance points but it does serve up healthy meals that are also flavor-packed. When it comes to a delicious meal out, we'll take that.
Pittsburgh Poke is located at 500 Liberty Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh.
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