In an unassuming corner of Eden Wok, a fast-casual Asian-inflected eatery on East 34th Street, a new poke spot quietly debuted Tuesday night. Koshe Poke is taking advantage of the poke (pronounced poh-kay) craze that’s been spreading east from its origins in Hawaii to the mainland’s West Coast and now to our own little overpopulated island of Manhattan.
Poke is a dish of raw cubed fish lightly marinated in soy and sesame, sometimes served over rice. Sold as a snack in grocery stores and even gas stations in the Aloha state, it is eaten more often on the sand than in a sit-down restaurant.
Koshe Poke founder Kevin Cohnen also owns Eden Wok and Pitopia. When people started queuing up at a neighboring poke shop, he decided to try his hand at a new offering in his existing space. Cohnen described poke as “only a short leap from sushi” and that’s literally what he did — he removed a wall next to the sushi bar in Eden Wok and added a glass case displaying all the fixings necessary for a choose-your-own poke adventure.
His team tosses cubes of fish (raw or grilled) with mix-ins (think: avocado, shredded carrot, diced mango) and sauces (they have six), and then either tops a bowl of greens, seasoned rice or quinoa with it, or rolls the mix into a seaweed “burrito.” Gild the lily with bright orange masago roe, seaweed salad and crispy onions (or any of a handful of other garnishes).
Starting at $13, it’s much less expensive than a flight to Honolulu.
Kosh Poke, 43 East 43rd St., New York, NY; 212-725-8100
Gayle Squires is a food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Her path to the culinary world is paved with tap shoes, a medical degree, business consulting and travel. She has a knack for convincing chefs to give up their secret recipes. Her blog is KosherCamembert
This story "Kosher Poke Hits New York as Hawaiian Craze Spreads" was written by Gayle L. Squires.