By Nancy Tannler
1485 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Open daily 11 am – 9 pm
Last year Poke Mon opened their doors in one of the contemporary new buildings on lower Hawthorne bringing with them a new favorite in food trends. They are one of the first around to serve the classic Hawaiian poke – a raw fish salad invented by fishermen by seasoning odd bits of their catch with seaweed, salt and roasted nuts. The poke eventually became a part of the every day staple for the family cook on the islands.
Chef/owner/manger Colin Yoshimoto, a native Hawaiian, and owners Brent Atchley and Mike Chin, have expanded on the possibilities of this simple meal and offer an appetizing selection of poke bowls.
Both Brent and Mike are skateboard pros, very well known and respected in that world. (Google their names and you will see why.) A few years ago they decided to turn their attention to opening a restaurant. They began speaking with friends about different ideas and a mutual acquaintance introduced them to Colin, who by this time had made a reputation for himself in the local culinary world for his skill preparing sushi, poke bowls and Hawaiian food. He is also very knowledgeable about saké.
Colin was raised in Oahu and came to the mainland in 2008. He worked in the food industry in all the major west coast cities before settling in Portland, a place he loves. Brent and Mike, both locals, had a vision for the style of restaurant they wanted to design, thought up the fun name, created a brand and secured the financing. They had ideas about the food but relied upon Colin’s culinary purview to create the menu. It will change over time.
The bowls all have a base of either koshihikari white rice, brown rice or mixed greens. “The koshihikari rice comes from old Koshi Province in Japan and can be translated as ‘the light of Koshi’,” Colin said. He likes this white rice best because of its appearance and flavor that varies slightly depending upon what region it is grown in.
They offer six signature bowls and a large variety of build-your- own bowls. One of the more popular poke bowls is the Hawaiian ahi, served with sweet onion, inamona ogo (a Hawaiian relish made from roasted kikui nut, sea salt and seaweed), original sauce, scallions and sesame seeds.
At Poke Mon, seasonal fresh and responsibly-sourced ingredients are used. The Ahi is sashimi grade Bigeye from Hawaii and the other fish is locally-caught when possible. All the fish is raw except for our Kimchi Tako poke bowl. Tako means octopus in Japanese. They use sustainably caught day boat octopus from Spain, which they prepare in house daily. Tofu is the vegan choice procured from Ota Tofu, and Choi’s Kimchi, both local companies.
Poke Mon has an expanded selection of soft drinks, cocktails, local beer and saki. “We decided to serve more saki so people could experience the different tastes and learn about the differences,” Colin said. It is a natural compliment to this type of food.
For eating-in, there are about twenty seatings. As the weather warms up, their will be more outdoor spots. They offer everything take out as well. For the menu: pokemonpdx.com