The poke phenomenon continues. Hikari is the latest sushi bar to realize that these days people don't want sushi, they want poke. Though the menu is still populated with combo plates, sushi rolls, and nigiri, its new owners have rebranded the place as a poke bar. And they've even added a sushi burrito as an option.
As usual, you have the base to choose: either white rice, brown rice, salad, or a combination of any two. Then the protein: tuna, salmon, yellowtail, and shrimp. The bowls start at $8 for a two-item poke bowl, and go up to $10 and $12 for three and four-item. You also have your choice of sauce, which includes an original recipe, a spicy garlic, a spicy and creamy “Screaming” sauce, or a sesame blend.
But similiarities to Pokinometry end there. Hikari Poki Bar is not set-up like it or other poke assembly lines. It remains a sushi bar and thus, the poke seems to be cut to order from the sushi bar fish and did take a while to prepare when I asked for one. Of course, I went during dinner time and opted for the four-item poki bowl and yakisoba combo, which was probably why it took the better part of 15 minutes. But at $15 total, the combo seemed an even better deal than the lunchtime poke bowl.
And it was excellent: a good balance of sauce, rice, fish, onion, flying fish roe, cucumbers, and avocado. By itself, the bowl was already a generous portion for one person. With the plate of the piping hot yakisoba as a side, the meal was enough for two.
So, yes, there's another poke bowl joint, even if it's still technically just a sushi bar. But then, who better to trust to make you a poke bowl than a sushi chef?
24531 Trabuco Rd. #J, Lake Forest, CA 92630, (949) 859-2336; http://www.hikaripoki.com/
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.