The chefs at Urban Plates have been hard at work in their kitchens developing a brand new menu category – we’re calling them “Bowls.” In creating this new menu category, our goal is to offer you more “good choices” from a variety of proteins and vegetables that are easy to customize to make a complete meal. This month, we’ve launched a lineup of six unique and affordably priced Bowls with three chilled and three hot options.
Since many of you follow food trends, you have probably seen Poke emerging in recent years. What started as a Hawaiian roadside snack has exploded in the culinary scene this year and become one of my favorite meals. My Uncle lives on Oahu. Every time we visit, he knows our first stop has to be for poke. Traditionally poke was made of fisherman’s trimmings of reef fish, tossed simply with sea salt, seaweed and kukui nuts. As other cultures came to the islands, poke evolved. Ahi and Hawaiian albacore became popular choices and soy sauce, shoyu, green onions, Maui onions, sesame oil and seaweed were more common flavor combinations. As a chef, it’s fun to create with poke, as it can be made with many proteins and flavor profiles. The only rule is to keep it fresh! We are debuting three Poke Bowls this season: a wild caught albacore tuna poke, sustainably raised salmon poke, and a tofu vegetable poke.
Each poke bowl has a protein prepared with its own sauce and then served over seasoned sushi rice and topped with red bell peppers, house made cucumber- carrot- jicama- onion pickles, green onion, fresh avocado, nori seaweed, black sesame seeds, baked wonton chips, cilantro, and a sprinkle of shichimi togarashi, Japanese 7 spice blend.
Albacore Tuna Poke Bowl
The albacore tuna is MSC certified, wild-caught in Fiji. I love Japanese influenced poke and wanted to mimic these flavors in the Urban Plates version. We toss the tuna with our poke sauce made with tamari, ginger, garlic, a hint of chili, sesame oil and our house made lemongrass vinegar. The albacore tuna is served raw and has a lightly sweet, mineral, ocean flavor that is balanced by the umami poke sauce. The seasoned sushi rice has a hint of rice wine vinegar that compliments meaty avocado and nutty nori and sesame seeds. This poke eats very clean and light. The wonton chips baked fresh in each restaurant every day make an excellent vehicle for scooping up all these beautiful ingredients into the perfect bite.
Salmon Poke Bowl
The salmon is sustainably raised in Canada and hand cut by our chefs every day. Our salmon is tossed with our popular scallion ginger miso sauce made with white light miso, tamari, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, chili sauce, sesame seeds and raw ginger, garlic and scallions. The salmon is served raw and has a richness in flavor that pairs well with the light pineapple essence of the miso, sodium from the tamari and bright spiciness of the raw ginger and garlic. The crisp raw pickles balance the full-flavored salmon and add a brightness to the whole bowl.
Tofu Poke Bowl
The tofu and vegetable poke is a great alternative to the traditional seafood pokes. We marinate the organic tofu in our house sesame ginger sauce made with tamari, vegan oyster sauce, sesame oil, nori, raw ginger and garlic for 24 hours. Our chefs toss the tofu to order in our poke sauce which adds an extra level of flavor. The earthy and soy-forward tofu has a distinct umami quality that is highly craveable, even if you don’t normally eat tofu. The grilled zucchini is a perfect complement to the tofu and adds a clean refreshing accent to the bowl.
All of our bowls are packed with protein, healthy fats, and vegetables that create harmonies of flavor. We can’t wait to hear what you think about these new Chilled Poke Bowls – stop by your favorite Urban Plates location to give these a try!