Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Miss Menu Has Been Poke-d

My first apartment in NYC was on the Upper East Side. I lived with two girls I found on Craigslist, and while I was beyond grateful that they weren't psycho, we didn't quite become best friends. One of the girls frequently invited me to go with her and friends to a sushi restaurant called Poke. I never ended up going, but to this day, I remember her raving about it being a really fun BYO place.

As you can tell by the "Upper East Side" label on the left hand side of this page, it's not my most frequented neighborhood. So, I was excited when GW asked if I wanted to go there for dinner one night. Poke doesn't take reservations, but luckily there was a table available right away. When my old roommate went, she always described it as a tiny hole-in-the-wall, but in recent years, they took over the space next door and expanded. It's not the best-decorated restaurant I've ever seen, but it's a few notches above the typical, plain sushi spot.

One of the major draws of Poke is it being BYO, which is a trend that many appreciate. We had picked up a bottle of wine nearby, and while we were looking over the menu, they put it in the fridge to keep it cold...thought that was a nice touch. The BYO factor makes Poke a popular place for bigger groups, but there plenty of small tables too.

The menu is definitely heavier on the sushi than on other Japanese dishes. There were some pretty creative rolls, with even more creative names. We started with an order of edamame and vegetable gyoza...can't go too wrong there. We ordered three big rolls and one more simple roll (and for the sake of clarity, I'm just going to list them as they are on Menu Pages!):
  • Spicy Tuna
  • Good Time - Outside: Salmon & Spicy Sauce -- Inside: Asparagus & Avocado
  • Suzuki - Outside: Masago -- Inside: Cooked Striped Bass, Tempura Flakes, & Spicy Sauce
  • Red Dragon - Outside: Tuna & Spicy Sauce -- Inside: Salmon & Tempura Flakes

My favorite was the Suzuki. I'm sure true sushi fans would make fun of me for eating a roll with cooked fish in it, but I can't deny that it was absolutely delicious. Their spicy sauce was great...not too heavy on the mayo, and a good amount of heat. All of the fish was very fresh and high-quality.

The service wasn't the friendliest, but they got the job done. We did feel a little rushed towards the end of the meal. We had wine left, so we weren't ready to get up from the table yet. But, they dealt with it! The crowd is definitely on the younger side, so with the BYOWine flowing, it makes for a really fun night.

Poke Restaurant
343 East 85th Street
b/t 1st & 2nd Avenues
Menu Pages listing

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