Big Tuna Poke Bar
Big Tuna Poke Bar has sold out of fish when I walk in on a late weekday afternoon. But fresh ahi tuna and salmon arrives while I'm standing at the counter perusing the menu.
Owner Anh Tran pops out to inspect the fish as I wait and watch staff assemble vegan poke with ponzu-soy dressed agedashi tofu and pickled shiitake mushrooms.
Bowls cost $10.95 for a small or $12.95 for a large. You can add avocado for $1, but it already comes on the vegan Green Ranger, a dish that also includes edamame, pickled daikon, roasted nori, sesame seeds, crushed macadamia nuts and lotus chips.
His menu offers four signature bowls plus customizable options. You can choose your base (mixed greens, white or brown rice), protein (ahi tuna, salmon or tofu), sauce and toppings when you order at the counter.
The 10-seat eatery has a few stools stationed around the perimeter. Salvaged wood and exposed brick add warmth and artwork by @evanyuink adorns the walls.
The place is licensed but there's only beer, including bottles of Steam Whistle, Asahi, Coors and Canadian for $5.50 plus king cans of Sapporo for $7. Mango juice, coconut waters and sodas round out the drink options.
After Tran approves the fish order, I grab a Big Katuna, the signature dish with plump chunks of ruby red tuna, cucumbers cubes and sweet onions tossed in a tangy ponzu dressing and then topped with a sprinkling of macadamia nuts, sesame seeds, scallions and lotus chips.
The Ninja salmon bowl comes with spicy mayo, a house-made sauce spiked with sriracha. This dish is studded with edamame and green onions and crowned with roasted seaweed, tobiko and a sprinkling of togarashi shichimi.
I devour most of my bowl immediately but then make the mistake of trying to take home the leftovers. It's a hot day and the streetcar is slow, as always. Once home, both the fish and the rice are tepid; I reluctantly toss them away. Learn from my mistake; eat your poke ASAP.
Photos by Hector Vasquez.