A few months ago, I was sitting down at one of my favorite restaurants in Bay Shore, Tula Kitchen, and was trying to figure out what to order. I tend to be a creature of habit, especially when it comes to my favorite dishes. But, I was feeling daring and wanted to try something new.
As I leisurely scanned the menu, my eyes spied their Po-kay bowls. I had no idea what Po-kay meant, or even that it was really spelled poke, but I was curious nevertheless. Basically, it’s a bowl of fresh “chunked” food. The version we ordered was so pretty, I almost didn’t dig in. But then my belly slapped my face and I heartily inhaled a ton of colorful veggies like micro greens, cucumbers, edamame, watermelon radishes, red cabbage, yellow beets, and avocado. Each Po-kay bowl comes with a pleasing amount of purple rice and a choice of protein (tuna or tofu) neatly topped with a lovely carrot ginger dressing. Wowza!
This healthy, yet surprisingly filling dish, was my first introduction to Hawaiian cuisine and got me interested in what other tasty treats I could try. And, more importantly, where I could find them on Long Island.
Say Aloha To These 5 Hawaiian Hot Spots This Year
Situated two doors down from the Long Beach Surf Shop, this kid-friendly restaurant offers both Hawaiian and Japanese favorites like Poke bowls and Ramen. Sherry Blossom believes that good food doesn’t have to break the bank and is committed to using wholesome ingredients in every bite. Plus, the take-out option means that you can take it right down to the beach to enjoy! Make sure you try the Sherry Blossom Classic, the Vegetable and Mushroom Ramen, and the Ice Cream Rolls!
78 W Park St, Long Beach, 516-889-1200
Technically a coffee shop, this trendy hang out spot is located in the Plant Fitness parking lot and somehow manages to serve “fast food” poke bowls and coffee together without anyone giving them the side eye. Minimalist décor keeps the focus on the colorful food and aromatic coffee. Fans give Shiny Coffee Healthy Poke (a weird rhyming name, but it tells it like it is!) extra props for incorporating more traditional Hawaiian ingredients into their menu like taro and mango. Make sure you try their Purple Taro Latte, Mango Smoothie, and Purple Taro Bubble Tea.
1040 S Broadway Store 12, Hicksville, 516-605-1666
Like most Poke places, Iron Poke touts a similar set up to Chipotle where all of the toppings are laid out before you and you select which items you want as you proceed down the line. Locals can’t get enough of their incredibly fresh ingredients and visit it at least once a week to pick up a nutritious dinner for their families. Serving a variety of proteins like sushi-grade tuna and salmon, shrimp, crab meat, grilled chicken and tofu, their menu appeals to just about everyone!
Fan favorites include the create your own “sushi” burritos, the Green Bowl (vegetarian), and the Hawaii Bowl.
2350 Nesconset Hwy, Stony Brook, 631-675-0888
Located in the King Kullen parking lot, this little eatery is quite unassuming from the outside. But step inside and you’ll find a deliciously concise menu of marinated, grilled meats, seafood, vegetables, and side salads. The menu is self-described as “American West Coast Hawaiian BB” and the way it’s served most closely resembles a “Hawaiian plate.” The “secret sauce” that they serve with their rice is to “die for” and fans hope that Hawaiian Kitchen will bottle it and sell it over the counter soon. People can’t stop talking about the spam musubi, mac salad, and BBQ beef short ribs.
580 Stewart Avenue, Bethpage, NY, 516-935-6888
This café-type establishment has a tropical, surfer vibe with just enough seating for you to dine in or take out. The flavorful fresh ingredients have this under-the-radar (but not for long) eatery earning many positive reviews online. Plus, the staff is always happy to give you advice on which additional toppings will go best with your poke bowl – apparently, the sweet corn is a crowd favorite! Locals love the Big Kahuna bowl, The Angry Volcano bowl, and the Mainlander bowl.
328 Main Street, Huntington, 631-888-3188 or 7 Hicksville Rd, Massapequa, 516-636-5100.