Poke, the traditional Hawaiian appetizer of raw, sashimi-grade ahi, is going upscale. The name “poke” is Hawaiian for “section” or “to slice or cut,” and while it may be a trending dish on the mainland, it has been a staple in the Hawaiian diet for some time. In classic poke dishes, fresh fish is usually cut to a medium dice, then served with ingredients inspired by Asian flavors such as soy sauce, green onion and sesame oil. Now, however, poke is showing up in various renditions at gourmet eateries across the country.
Executive Chef David Viviano at Montage Kapalua Bay’s Cane & Canoe restaurant says he is not surprised about the new upscale poke presentations. “Poke brilliantly highlights premium fish, which often comes at a high ticket price. With the addition of other opulent products, this once basic dish is transformed into a much more sophisticated one,” Viviano says.
Viviano remembers his first poke fondly. “The varying textures and flavors truly inspired me,” he says. And with restaurants across the mainland offering their own delicious takes, you’ll look upon your first poke with the same warmth.
Discover the elevated poke (and poke-like) dishes showing up on the menus at Montage properties. Plus, a delicious recipe from Montage Kapalua Bay.
At renowned chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s restaurant Georgie, the poke-like hamachi crudo with cranberry relish is a highlight of the starter menu. Made with cucumber, Fuji apples and crispy shallots, the offering is a fresh, crisp dish perfect for spring.
While Executive Chef Craig Strong doesn’t have poke at Studio, he does serve a marinated tuna sashimi on the tasting portion of his dinner menu, a more mainland take on the Hawaiian favorite. Prepared with piquillo, finger lime, radish and smoked avocado, the selection is a dynamic fish dish.
Chef de Cuisine Christian Ojeda at Apex also serves up a tuna and kampachi crudo. To take this dish upscale, Ojeda serves it with avocado cilantro foam, ginger mustard aioli, sweet wasabi pearls, piquillo pepper relish and vertical garden greens.
At Cane & Canoe, the signature hamachi poke dish is served with avocado yuzu mousse, topped with caviar and plated with taro chips. Executive Chef David Viviano says caviar “provides an unexpected burst of brininess.” Try this dish at home with this dynamic recipe:
3 ounces hamachi, poke cut
1 ounce poke sauce (recipe below)
A pinch of limu
½ teaspoon furikake
2 ounces wakame
1 tablespoon avocado yuzu mousse (recipe below)
1 teaspoon paddlefish roe
3 taro chips
Mix hamachi, poke sauce, limu and furikake. Put wakame in the bottom of a bowl. Spoon Hamachi poke on top. Put yuzu mousse on top of Hamachi poke. Spoon on caviar. Serve with taro chips.
Avocado Yuzu Mousse
1 avocado (skinned and seeded)
1 tablespoon yuzu juice
Salt (to taste)
Puree avocado and yuzu in a food processor. Season with salt.
¾ cup soy sauce
¼ cup sesame oil
¼ ounce ginger, chopped
½ teaspoon crushed Hawaiian red chilis, toasted
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
1 lime, juiced
By Susan Lanier-Graham