Phoebe Ellis| THE SPECTRUM
When I first visited the Poke Bowl, which is best described as the Subway of seafood, I got the scallops on salad greens. This came with ginger sauce and all of the toppings the bar offered. It was really tasty.
The problem arose when I visited them a second time, where I got a squid salad on rice. “Do you want both sauces?” The kind woman behind the bar asked. “Sure,” I replied, trying to get the full Poke Bowl experience. Again, I got all the toppings.
The second bowl, which had both sauces, had a spicy mayo sauce. My impression? Too much mayo. So much mayo. Why is there so much mayo?
Don’t get me wrong, it was pretty tasty mayo, but it seemed like every bite I took somehow was doused in the stuff. I ended up digging deep into my bowl to find something that lacked the creamy condiment.
Outside of the major mayo issue, I do have to say the flavors of the seafood within the bowl itself were also pretty good. If you like squid, I would absolutely recommend getting the squid salad. If you’ve never had squid before, I’d also recommend it. It’s a strong salty and fairly chewy seafood. If you’re into that, go grab a bowl.
Going back to the scallops and salad greens bowl (sans mayo) that I experienced the first time I went, I wanted to go back. The greens were soft, and the ginger sauce left a sweet and mildly spicy favor in my mouth. The rice has a savory almost vinegary flavor. (Rice vinegar and sugar perhaps?) It was awesome.
The other North Dakota State student that joined me, Nick Laschkewitsch, didn’t care for the cucumbers that topped his bowl. “Are they soaked in like, vinegar? I don’t like that,” Laschkewitsch said.
Speaking of cucumbers, let’s talk about toppings. When you arrive in Poke Bowl, you get to choose what kind of seafood you’d like and whether you want rice or a salad. Then you move on to the toppings. There are about nine wet toppings you can put on your bowl and two dry toppings.
One of the wet toppings is seaweed salad that, despite the wonderful flavor, feels a little bit like biting down on the cartilage in a fried chicken leg. Would I eat it again? Any day of the week, but some of the squeamish diners may need to prepare themselves for that.
The roe that they offer as another toping is more for color than anything else. It carries a fishy taste, as expected, but it’s not strong or noticeable when in a seafood dish.
One topping that could be skipped is the edamame, as it seems to not be flavored with anything at all, unlike the cucumbers. Instead, it offers a more palate cleansing bite of starch in the middle of a strong seafood flavor. I personally get it specifically to eat at the bottom of my bowl so that I don’t taste fish for the rest of the day.
Overall, my biggest criticism is that the food lacks any sort of spice, and is largely just a fishy taste. I found myself time and time again reaching for the hot sauce to get some sort of bite to my meal. However, if you suffer from a delicate Midwestern palate, skip the hot sauce.
Last but not least, I need to comment on the service. The people who work there are beyond kind and gracious, and everything is made that day, sometimes that minute, so you may have to wait a few seconds for more rice or more squid salad. The service is so good and the employees are so kind that it’s worthwhile to chat with them, just remember to skip the mayo.