By Raymond Bill
There is a new cuisine and dining concept taking over the valley. Many have heard of Poke before but may have been too intimidated to try it. From the family that brought us Okura in La Quinta and Laguna Beach, Pokehana has opened two locations in the Coachella Valley and I recently had the opportunity to try their La Quinta restaurant for lunch. Described by some as, “sushi in a bowl,” this small eatery offers fine dining quality seafood in a casual setting and the staff was eager to introduce me to the world of poke.
As I entered Pokehana, the first thing I noticed was a large colorful board with pictures of ingredients. If you are unsure how to order, just ask them for a little guidance or suggestions and they will happily help customize your bowl. I started with a blend of brown rice and mixed greens and added fresh chunks of salmon in a sweet and savory Hana Sauce. You can choose how many scoops of protein (Ahi, Albacore, Spicy Tuna, Salmon, Octopus, Shrimp, Crab, and even vegan options like Tofu or Coconut Meat) but for me, the regular two scoops was plenty. From there I added many ingredients to my bowl including seaweed, edamame, tomatoes, cucumber, pickled radish, and so much more. I finished my bowl with a wasabi cilantro sauce and crispy garlic. The flavors were simply mouthwatering.
For those that get a short lunch break and want something healthy and quick, without that sluggish feeling after, this is for you! My entire dining experience was under 40 minutes and that could have been cut in half if I hadn’t had such great company with me. As a seafood lover, I love that I can come here every day and have something new. There are so many combinations of seafood and all their sauces are made in house with their own family recipes.
At Pokehana, you know what you are eating and it is all very fresh. The seafood is delivered by multiple vendors to ensure the highest quality and the produce is crisp and flavorful. Owner Daniel has put so much thought into the set-up, design, and functionality of Pokehana that even the scoops were carefully selected from countless catalogs. No detail was left out. The bar is set high for any other Poke restaurant. And speaking of bar, Pokehana also offers a limited selection of beer, wine, and sake (both filtered and unfiltered).
Pokehana also has a gift card/ rewards app that allows you to fund or send digital gift cards. As a parent to teenagers, this is a great way to quickly send money for my kids to eat and know that they are eating healthy food, as opposed to fast food or junk food. And did I tell you it is delicious?
Pokehana will be your new favorite spot, I assure you. Stop in and see for yourself at their two locations: La Quinta at 78742 Highway 111 next to Red Robin or in Palm Desert at 73405 Highway 111. Learn more about the menu and their Pokehana VIP eclub at www.pokehana.com