The craze is real. A trend that began in Hawaiian fish markets, where shoppers could pick up a clean, fresh, catch-of-the-day that had been lightly dressed with sesame oil, soy, and whatever else was available, poke is the mother of all 2017 food trends.
The word “poke” literally means “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian and, at its base, that’s what this dish is: Cut fish, presented simply. It’s the unadorned product that makes poké so good, and if you’ve found yourself drooling thinking about a fresh bowl of cubed tuna, well, you’re in luck, because there are a number of Long Island restaurants that can sate your stomach. We already told you about one place where you can find great poke in Huntington Village; here’s the rest of the best of the bunch.
1. The Surf Lodge
Summer is winding down, which means Montauk will soon again be… well, Montauk. But, in the meantime, with a little over a week to go, get thee to the Surf Lodge, where it all started about a decade ago. The Lodge is known, yes, for its hipster scene and furiously popular musical performances on Sunday, but the menu’s great, too. And one thing they have that you’ve definitely been looking for is poke, made with yellowfin tuna, yuzu, ginger, and nori. Tuna is sliced into thick cubes and appropriately dressed, which isn’t exactly Montauk’s mantra.
The Surf Lodge, 183 Edgemere Street, Montauk, open daily 5 to 10 p.m., 11 p.m. on weekends, through Labor Day, (631) 483-5037.
2. Industry Standard
Chef Greg Ling’s too-cool-for-school Greenport outpost features a wealth of pan-Asian options, but we’re here for the poke. Industry Standard calls their version the spicy tuna don, and it comes with sushi rice, sliced raw tuna, ginger, cucumber, and wasabi. The bar and restaurant, which caters to restaurant industry workers, serves poke during the day and at night, so you can get your fish fix before or after sunset.
Industry Standard, 45 Front Street, Greenport, open daily Sunday to Thursday, 12 to 9:30 p.m., 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. on weekends, (631) 333-2500.
3. Bell & Anchor
I’m fortunate enough to live right around the corner from this personal favorite, which serves dollar Montauk pearls every Sunday night, in and out of season. Buck a shuck notwithstanding, this is the place to go if you find yourself in Sag Harbor with a poke-specific craving. Bell & Anchor’s “tuna bowl” comes with diced yellowfin, spinach, cucumber, orange segments, sesame seeds, and ponzu sauce. Pinch me!
Bell & Anchor, 3253 Noyac Road, Sag Harbor, open daily 5:30 to 10 p.m. through Labor Day, with seasonal hours starting after the holiday, (631) 725-3400.
4. Koi Kokoro
Don’t call it poke—at Islip’s Koi Kokoro, it’s called the yutari bowl, and it’s outstanding. Actually, Koi Kokoro offers a twist on a classic, with cooked meat options in lieu of the raw fish. But I prefer the seafood options: raw tuna, salmon, or both, served with sriracha aioli, lemon-infused soy sauce, crab salad, seaweed salad, lettuce, avocado, edamame, and rice. It’s a substantial meal and one you won’t soon forget.
Koi Kokoro, 501 Main Street, Islip, open Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., (631) 650-0307.
5. Shiny Coffee Healthy Poke
Our Poke bowls have a huge variety of different options. This one has Salmon, Tuna, Cucumber, Tomato, Carrots, Edamame, White Rice and Spicy Mayo. Definitely packs that flavor punch! 😍😁 #poke #hicksville #longisland #foodie #shinycoffeehealthypoke. . . . . #buzzfeast #eatmunchies #treatyoself#huffposttaste #spoonfeed #feastagram #foodandwine #eatlikeshit#hungrytwins #eatingNewYork#mychefstable #newyorkcity #nycfood#cheatday #forkyeah #feedyoursoull#yougottaeatthis #zagat#newforkcity #foodprnshare #eater #eatingnyc
The name says it all at this newly opened Hicksville hideout, where poke is the star of the show. This is a design-your-own poke experience, with options ranging from spicy tuna to white fish (for a nice surprise, try the scallops). Mix-in choices include edamame, cucumber, seaweed salad, tomatoes, onion, and avocado, all sauced with either spicy mayo, honey-wasabi, or the yami yami house special. Say yes to sesame seeds and scallions, because mix-ins and toppings are unlimited. You’ll spend less than $20 for a bowl full of raw fish love. While you’re there, don’t forget to indulge in the coffee. The coffee bar is managed by an established barista, and you’ll find everything here from cold-brew to siphoned.
Shiny Coffee Healthy Poké, 1040 S. Broadway, #12, Hicksville, open daily 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., (631) 605-1666.
6. Catch Oyster Bar
This new-to-the-scene Patchogue restaurant serves up an ample helping of thick cubed tuna poke, dressed with black and white sesame seeds and adorned with equally charming cubes of mango. It’s a meal in and of itself, and arrives with fresh tortilla chips, seaweed salad, and pickled ginger, so you can make your own bites. Basically, this dish falls squarely between tuna tartare and tuna poke, with tartare’s accouterment and poke’s thick-cut fish. No matter what you call it, though, it sure is tasty.
Catch Oyster Bar, 63 N. Ocean Drive, Patchogue, open daily 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., (631) 627-6860.
7. Happy Bowls
Montaukers have been visiting Happy Bowls, a breakfast- and lunch-only haunt right off of the hamlet’s main drag, for several years now. Until recently, Happy Bowls was known for its extremely healthy acai bowls, which diners could build themselves using a bevy of ingredients, like shredded coconut, banana, and granola. They’ve expanded their repertoire to include poke, though, and now you can find a spicy ahi poke on their curated menu. The bowl comes with sliced avocado, tuna dressed in chili oil, sesame seeds, and scallions. Oh, and you can find outposts in Puerto Rico, in case you happen to be abroad during the cooler months.
Happy Bowls, 805 Montauk Highway, Montauk, open daily for breakfast and lunch, (631) 374-1346.
If you’re looking for a more upscale setting in which to enjoy your raw fish, take a trip to Greenport, where Noah Schwartz’s Noah’s provides some of the best prepared seafood Long Island has to offer. Here, ahi tuna poke is served as a raw bar appetizer and is garnished with avocado, hazelnuts, Thai chili, scallions, nori, and a coconut ponzu. The result is an ambitious, piquant dish that will leave you just hungry enough for all of Chef Schwartz’s other brilliant creations.
Noah’s, 136 Front Street, Greenport, open daily 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., (631) 477-6720.