Poke bowls have become a thing, but Downtown is home to perhaps Pittsburgh’s lone spot specializing in the sushi-like cuisine. Pittsburgh Poke, which opened in June, serves variations on this traditional Hawaiian dish built around raw fish, cubed and seasoned.
It’s fast, healthy and not too pricey, but the numerous ingredient options take forethought. For lunch one day last week, customers, including me, paused to review handy “create-your-own” cards before addressing the friendly servers behind a buffet-style stainless-steel table. Choose a base (white or brown rice, quinoa or organic mixed greens), two proteins (I went with salmon and spicy tuna), mix-ins (carrot, mango, avocado, etc.), a sauce and other toppings. Most options are no extra charge beyond the basic $10.99 (or $12.99 for two proteins). There are also two house bowls and two house sushi burritos.
In my poke (“POH-keh”) bowl, the warm rice and cold toppings blended nicely, and the mix of house sauce and spicy mayo was pleasingly tangy. (Other proteins include chicken, shrimp and tofu; sauce options include ginger sesame, eel sauce, citrus ponzu, spicy miso and sweet wasabi.)
Pittsburgh Poke, open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, seems to do a steady lunch business — mostly takeout, though several small tables are available. The interior is bright and cheerful, the lone anomaly being the piped-in contemporary-country radio.