What do you think of when you hear the phrase, “a better fast food movement?"
McDonald's? Definitely not. Chipotle? Getting Closer. Chef Kayson Chong of Mainland Poke thinks a traditional Hawaiian dish called Poke is the way to go, and I am inclined to believe him.
Located on 3rd Street near The Grove, Mainland Poke sits on a block a few doors down from Joan’s on Third, but it couldn’t be more different. The exterior is instantly noticeable, clean and contemporary. The design feels more in line with Yogurtland than a traditional poke restaurant, but that aesthetic was intentional. Chef Chong is a big believer in healthy fast food and wanted to streamline the process.
Walking into the restaurant, everything is laid out in front of you — each bowl is created on the spot, much like Subway, but a lot prettier. You have the option to choose one of the Chef’s Favorites (you have to trust the guy) or build your own bowl. We did both. There are a few different varieties of protein (albacore, salmon, octopus, ahi tuna, and tofu), and with a slew of bases and toppings, there are a lot of amazing possible combinations.
Chef Chong makes a great bowl. He started us off with the So Cali (one of the Chef Favorites). As a base, the bowl had brown rice with salmon, avocado, sweet onions, jalapeños, and a sriracha aioli. One element that immediately struck us was that chef Chong doesn’t use any spices in his preparations, which really allows you to taste how fresh the meat and toppings are. There is nothing for them to hide behind.
After we devoured the So Cali bowl, chef Chong made a treat for us — if it had a name it would have been the Super Bowl. We went a little crazy and added practically everything and it was fantastic. All the ingredients work well together so there are no bad combinations. We topped it with the famous spicy shoyu sauce and our knees buckled.
This article was written by Andrew Collins, producer for Food Steez. Located in Los Angeles, Food Steez combines a love for flavorful dishes and stylistic videos into a brand that will have you coming back for more. Co-founders Mike Irving and Sean Thomas have created a new kind of food blog; one with easy recipes and high-end videos.