More raw fish is coming to Northeast Portland. A new NE Alberta poke bar opens Saturday with spicy Bigeye bowls, octopus poke, and $7 cocktails.
Poketo comes from Noon Panyachunsakunsuk and Chris Jones, two Portland-based industry vets. Jones once worked at the same Denver sushi restaurant as Nodoguro’s Ryan Roadhouse, but Portlanders may know him for his time at beloved Hillsboro Japanese restaurant Syun Izakaya. The two wanted to open something casual and healthy in their neighborhood, deciding on poke bowls.
Like many poke bars, Poketo offers customizable bowls: Customers choose a base of sushi rice, black, rice, quinoa, or mixed greens, then selecting a protein from a number of options — everything from bigeye tuna to Ora King salmon, with both the traditional marinated poke and un-marinated for the gluten-free. Mix-ins range from ogo seaweed to kale to edamame, with toppings like tamago, avocado, pickled ginger, and imitation crab. Every bowl also has an option of sauces, plus crunchy bits like lotus chips, shredded nori, or crispy shallots. The restaurant also offers designed bowls, including a spicy bigeye, octopus, and salmon.
Seafood sustainability is important to both Panyachunsakunsuk and Jones, so the two try to source fish caught somewhat humanely while also staying somewhat inexpensive; for instance, the restaurant’s bigeye and Ora King is caught using a longline method, considered more sustainable than fishing nets. Poke bowls never exceed $15, with most living in the $11 to $13 range. Drinks are similarly inexpensive, with tamarind whiskey cocktails and margaritas clocking in at $7.
The restaurant itself is colorful and vibrant, with floral-lined tables and pops of aquamarine around the space. The restaurant has a full bar with seating, as well as a chef’s counter, with communal tables and carnivorous plants littered throughout the dining room. Panyachunsakunsuk is serious about Poketo feeling relaxed: “If I want to wear my pajamas and get lunch, I can,” she says. “I want it to feel casual.” Poketo opens July 6 at 2525 NE Alberta Street.
• Poketo [Instagram]