Portland feels like the last city to catch on to the national poke craze—a raw fish movement that skyrocketed up through California and spread across the country over the course of a few years. There are a handful of places to find the Hawaiian staple now, from Beaverton’s Uwajimaya to Southeast Hawthorne’s new, un-Google-able Poke Mon. Wisely, sustainable sushi chain Bamboo Sushi has cashed in on the trend, with the recently opened “Annex” next door to their downtown location. There’s a lot to love here. But be warned: this is not your by-the-pound, Big Island seafood shack.
- Bamboo’s fish is super fresh, and it makes a big difference.
- Nontraditional though it may be, there are some great upgrades to Bamboo’s poke pantry: fried shallots. Candied Thai chiles. Sesame brittle!
- Bowls are big. Even the most ahi-crazed poke-hunters will get their fill.
- Hood River’s Juanita's tortilla chips come as a standard sub-in for white rice.
- The Bamboo Bowl: honkin’ cubes of Oregon albacore come tossed in a sweet, cilantro-avocado Green Goddess dressing, topped with confetti strips of nori and crunchy fried shallots.
- Some toppings have “jumped the shark.” Oregon hazelnuts, bee pollen, kale, and yams are not friends to raw fish.
- Despite generous portions, prices are high. As in… $14 a bowl high.
- Poke Nachos: a textural train wreck. Like a 3-layer seafood dip, this weighty container holds thick oozes of yuzu guacamole, troughs of “krab” meat, and chunks of spicy tuna. The whole thing comes dowsed in creamy habanero masago sauce and eel sauce for the kitchen-sink effect.
Bamboo Sushi: The Annex
1122 SW Stark St.
Open daily, 11:30 am – 2:30 pm