There was a point that I had to stop posting on here about every new poke joint that opened in our county. Besides the fact that they were practically carbon copies of each other and Pokinometry (which, for the record, started the craze) there was just too many of them to keep up.
When I first learned about Poke-Ria in Santa Ana (1935 E 17th St.), it seemed just like the others. It opened last month and offered the usual build-your-own poke bowls with which we are all now familiar. But then, there was also the option of ceviche with honest-to-goodness Peruvian flavors such as rocoto and aji amarillo. There was even cancha (roasted Peruvian corn) as topping.
But by far the most interesting thing about Poke-Ria is its ambitions. In the coming months, it will open four additional shops, three of them in Orange County. One will be at MainPlace Mall between Macy’s and JCPenney. Another will be in Irvine at Heritage Plaza between Ralphs and CVS. The third OC location will be in Laguna Niguel at Ocean Ranch Center next to Cinepolis.
Who is behind Poke-Ria? It’s none other than Mike Joher, who also owns Heat Nightclub in Anaheim. If you don’t know who Joher is, he’s the one surrounded by Harlem Globetrotters in this posted picture on Poke-Ria’s Facebook page.
Before becoming an award-winning restaurant critic for OC Weekly in 2007, Edwin Goei went by the alias “elmomonster” on his blog Monster Munching, in which he once wrote a whole review in haiku.