Openings

Here’s How to Create a Perfectly Balanced Poke Bowl

Here’s How to Create a Perfectly Balanced Poke Bowl

Jul 14, 2017

The team at ASAP Poke, a new, delivery only restaurant in Chicago’s Lincoln Park is serving up the freshest signature and make-your-own poke bowls and rolls.

Sushi Roll from ASAP Poke

ASAP Poke is a collaboration between Chef Tim Hockett, Chef Naoki Nakashima, and Chef Hisanobu Osaka. The digital restaurant was born out of a single idea: to bring Chicago the freshest, sushi-quality fish coupled with seasonal ingredients, as fast as possible. The three chefs have over 30 years of Japanese and French culinary experience and their attention to detail is what makes ASAP Poke stand out. To place your order for ASAP Poke, click here.

Salmon Poke Bowl

“Serving poke bowls with big flavor is our focus,” explains Chef Naoki Nakashima. “Though Hawaiian poke and Japanese sushi are vastly different, there are a lot of similarities including the freshness of the fish, the way you prepare the marinades, and the quality of ingredients. We took qualities from traditional Chirashi sushi and combined it with classic Hawaiian flavors and we rolled it into ASAP Poke.”

Poke bowls are all about four things: a great base, fresh fish (or a vegetable substitute), sauce and toppings. Chef Tim Hockett takes us through his tips and tricks for creating a perfectly balanced Poke bowl.

Bowl of rice with poke bowl ingredients surrounding it

It all starts with a well-seasoned base.
At ASAP Poke we treat all of our bases like we would delicate sushi rice. We add vinegar and seasonings to our various poke bases to ensure that we are building layers of flavor from the bottom up. We offer traditional sushi rice, brown sushi rice, quinoa tabouli or mixed greens for a lighter poke bowl.

Quality is king when it comes to sourcing the freshest fish.
Your bowl is only as good as the ingredients you put into it.  We use only sushi grade ahi tuna, yellowtail hamachi, and pacific salmon; preparing our fish and ingredients fresh every morning.

Salmon Poke Bowl

“I’ve been a Sushi Chef for 27 years and we craft our ASAP Poke bowls with the same knowledge,” says Chef Naoki. “We only use fresh ingredients and marinades that we’ve created ourselves. For our tuna, we use a traditional Japanese zuke marinade and our sushi rice is prepared in Chirashi fashion to give it a bold flavor.”

Another pro tip:
“Dicing the fish into smaller bites, allows us to coat the fish giving a better flavor profile,” says Chef Osaka

Not into fish? Go ahead and substitute with a hearty flavored veggie. Chef Hockett’s favorite is slow braised, gingered beets. It’s important to use a veggie that gives you “bite” similar to a piece of protein.

Beet Poke Bowl

The sauce should complement the flavor of your fish, not cover it up.
At ASAP Poke, we make all of our sauces in-house, daily. A classic marinade with soy, chili, lime, oil, other secret ingredients), a spicy soy dressing, a traditional ponzu, and a tangy yuzu-ginger dressing.  Remember: keep it simple and light with the sauce and let the main ingredients speak for themselves.

Freshen it up with seasonal toppings.
Topping your poke bowl off with fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables is what can make a poke bowl unique to your taste buds. Poke toppings can range from fruits like pineapple, apple watermelon or mango – giving a sweet finish to your poke to fresh vegetables like avocado, tomato, edamame, onions, radishes, bean sprouts, daikon and more. Like a little spice? Bring the heat with sliced jalapenos, Fresno Chili or habaneros. At ASAP Poke, we also like to finish off our bowls with fresh herbs like cilantro, shiso, chives, seaweed, and more. Chef Tim Hockett also offers seasonal special toppers including summer corn from local Nicholas Farm and more.

Various kinds of poke from ASAP Poke

Or try pickled vegetables for an extra tang.
It’s true, pickles make everything better and when creating the perfect poke, this rule applies. We love pickled shiitake mushrooms, pickled ginger, pickled radishes or pickled onions.

“Its unique details like pickled shiitake mushrooms that add a distinct flavor to the bowls we are creating at ASAP,” says Chef Osaka. “Other small touches that go a long way is that we use sushi vinegar for the rice and even season our edamame with lemon juice.”

When it comes to toppings, don’t go overboard. Remember, you also eat with your eyes, not just your stomach so we would recommend using no more than 5-8 ingredients.

Tuna poke bowl from ASAP Poke

Give it some crunch.
A great poke bowl not only has maximum flavor but also maximum texture. Some awesome ingredients that add texture and depth to your bowl: toasted sesame seeds, crispy shallots, and Chef Hockett’s personal favorite Furikake, a dry Japanese seasoning.

When you add your toppings and finish off you bowl (or roll), take the time to make it look great.  Use small cuts for your veggies, sprinkle some delicate sesame seeds on top, and voila, your best poke creation is ready to eat.

Salmon sushi roll from ASAP Poke

So now that you know exactly how to craft poke perfection, you’ll be a pro the next time you order from ASAP Poke! The restaurant is available for delivery Tuesday – Thursday 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 10:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. To place your order online or for more information, visit asappokechicago.com and follow us on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.


You May Also Like...

How To
Chef Tim Hockett’s Guide to Meal Prepping
Feb 18, 2019

Meal prepping is daunting for many reasons. It’s time consuming, it takes a lot of planning and if…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to Eat Lunch
Jan 25, 2019

For that one hour escape from your office, you want to make sure to make most of your lunch hour.…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Welcome Our 2017 Newcomers
Dec 5, 2017

2017 is coming to a close, but we opened lots of new doors this year! Lettuce has welcomed newcomers…

read more >
Openings
Here’s How to Create a Perfectly Balanced Poke Bowl
Jul 14, 2017

The team at ASAP Poke, a new, delivery only restaurant in Chicago’s Lincoln Park is serving up…

read more >

Recent Posts

How To
VIDEO: 5 Ways to Use the LettuceEats App
Feb 19, 2019

We like to think of the LettuceEats app as your own personal restaurant concierge complete with…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Your Weekly Bub City Calendar! Spoiler Alert: There’s A $5 Deal Every Night
Feb 19, 2019

We're here to make sure you never miss a beat and also help you plan your social calendar around…

read more >
How To
Treat Yourself! Here’s 7 Ways to Use Your Holiday Bonus
Feb 18, 2019

Wondering what to do with your $25 Holiday Bonus from the Holiday Gift Card Promotion? Now through…

read more >
How To
Chef Tim Hockett’s Guide to Meal Prepping
Feb 18, 2019

Meal prepping is daunting for many reasons. It’s time consuming, it takes a lot of planning and if…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Have You Tried the Impossible Burger at M Burger Yet?
Feb 18, 2019

Did you hear about this magical plant-based burger dubbed the Impossible Burger that’s been…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Here’s Where to Happy Hour
Feb 18, 2019

It's 5 o'clock somewhere! Here are all the happy hour deals at select Lettuce Entertain You…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Lettuce Life: Better Together with Chef Partners Raul Gutierrez & Osvaldo Ocegueda
Feb 18, 2019

You've got to start somewhere and with hard work, a lot of hustle and a hunger to learn, working…

read more >
How To
Cooking with Wine: Top 5 White Wine Picks From RPM’s Richard Hanauer
Feb 17, 2019

Cooking with wine may seem straightforward. Deglaze here, add in a splash there (take a sip,…

read more >
In The Restaurants
You Can Now Enjoy Aba’s Patio All Year Long
Feb 17, 2019

Introducing the new rooftop igloos at Aba! Why are we so excited for these? Well, it means you can…

read more >
How To
Recipe: RPM Italian’s Short Rib Bolognese with Hand-Cut Pappardelle
Feb 16, 2019

Looking for a hearty recipe to tackle over a cold winter weekend? Try RPM Italian’s Short Rib…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Now Serving: Cauliflower Crust Pizza at Wildfire
Feb 16, 2019

What if we told you the new cauliflower crust pizza is not only gluten-free but also a delicious…

read more >
In The Restaurants
The New Nacional 27: New Chef, New Menu, New Look!
Feb 16, 2019

Nacional 27 is an iconic Latin American spot in River North that recently celebrated its 20th…

read more >
Lettuce Consulting Group

Grow Your Business

Learn More
Career Opportunities

Join Our Team

Search Jobs
Latest Articles

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Sign Up Now

Lettuce on Instagram

Checkout our feed @lettuceentertainyou!