My Saturday stroll provided a friendly reminder that we have a poke paradise hidden in an unassuming convenience store right here in Wallingford. Located on 45th and Sunnyside, Stop N Shop Poke Bar is not a truly hidden gem. It boasts 739 Yelp reviews and was mentioned on Anthony Bourdain’s CNN show, Parts Unknown. Yet the Poke bar is still easy to miss with the quiet storefront and low-key vibe. During a filming of the show, Bourdain expressed his fondness for Seattle, wandering around Wallingford and remarking that Seattle is “excellent for serial killers”. However hospitable the environment, I personally hope to encounter more good eats and fewer serial killers on my weekend lunch hunts.
While Wallingford is home to several Japanese restaurants, the Poke bar brings a Hawaiian spin to the raw fish genre in our neighborhood.
Growing in U.S. popularity, poke (pronounced POH-keh…rhyming with okay) now has many iterations, but the traditional dish features raw marinated fish cut into bite-sized pieces accompanied by whatever garnishes were around. The modern version of the poke bowl gained popularity in Hawaii in the 1970’s and took a bit longer to catch on here in the U.S. — really taking off over the last decade. The concept of poke has surely been around much longer that this — stemming from inventive (and hungry) fishermen who turned the scraps from their fresh catches into a snack by adding a bit of salt and garnish. Most traditional poke bowls contain tuna, onions, salt, seaweed, roasted kukui nut, lime, soy sauce, green onions and sesame oil. “Poke” means to slice or cut, but in my Wallingford house, it translates to “make your husband very happy to see you”.
Opens at 11:00am Monday – Saturday and closed Sundays
I highly recommend grabbing a bowl and heading over to Kite Hill to watch sea planes land while you enjoy.