The Denver foodie scene has come a long way from the cowtown days, but there's a good chance you've never heard of poke salad. Pronounced “pokey,” the Hawaiian dish centered on raw fish and rice …
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Address: 151 West Mineral Ave., Unit D140
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week
The Denver foodie scene has come a long way from the cowtown days, but there's a good chance you've never heard of poke salad.
Pronounced “po-kay,” the Hawaiian dish centered on raw fish and rice now has a home in Littleton, at PokeCo, a hip lunch spot at Broadway and Mineral Avenue.
If you like sushi, you'll love poke, said manager and head chef Nick Seberg.
“In Hawaii, poke is mainly just fish on rice,” said Seberg, who was born and raised in Oahu before heading to Los Angeles for culinary school. “Here in Colorado, chefs are getting more creative with it.”
For $12 to $14, you can build yourself a poke bowl from fresh ingredients like salmon, shrimp, ginger, avocado or seaweed salad, prepared behind a long counter of ingredients.
It's like Chipotle or Subway, Seberg said, “but a lot fresher and tastier.”
Poke's great for lunch breaks, said owner Jeane Yang, who also owns East Moon Asian Bistro with husband Steven Chen.
“Lots of people want sushi for lunch, but there's not enough time for a real sit-down meal,” Yang said. “Your only other option is premade sushi from a grocery store. Here, you can get something healthy and delicious, but a lot faster.”
PokeCo's fish comes from the same high-end supplier as East Moon, Yang said.
Poke has long been a staple of the Aloha State, but only recently hopped to the mainland, Seberg said.
“I'd say it showed up in LA about seven years ago,” Seberg said. “Now there's a hundred poke places in Cali. Here in Denver, it's growing like crazy right now.”
PokeCo offers what might be another Littleton first: rolled Thai ice cream. For $7, you can get maybe the prettiest ice cream sundae you've ever seen, made with cold cream smeared flat across an icy pan and rolled into tight curls.
“People love watching it get made,” Seberg said. “Kids in particular get a kick out of it.”
PokeCo is a welcome addition to the Mineral and Broadway area, said Eric Greenfield, who stopped by for lunch on March 5 — for the third time since the shop opened just four days before.
“Normally on my lunch break I just get fast food or something from the grocery store, but this is way better,” Greenfield said, munching on a bowl with ahi tuna, salmon, cucumbers and jalapeno. “It's really nice to get something actually fresh.”
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