PokéBao

Poké seems to be the new black. For quite some time now, poké spots have been popping up all over Miami serving the traditional Hawaiian dish consisting of cubed or sliced raw fish.  First served on fisherman’s boats as a snack from their days’ catch; now, poké (verb meaning to slice or cut) can be seen arranged in beautiful bowls atop rice and other condiments.

Luckily for me, I can get a taste of Hawaii without even leaving my neighborhood! PokéBao opened its doors on Giralda Avenue in Coral Gables at the start of this year serving both Hawaiian and Asian inspired dishes.  Starting with only lunch service at first the restaurant has just recently started its dinner service.  I was so excited to have been invited to try their dishes and specialties.

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The illustrations and artwork throughout give the restaurant its cool vibes and welcoming atmosphere

There are a few things that set PokéBao apart from other poké places in Miami.   First off, Chef Daniel Bouza, the chef/owner brings his experience from Nobu Lana’i in Hawaii and most recently from Makoto in Bal Harbour.  His love for bao buns also made it into the restaurant’s concept, hence the name PokéBaoBao buns are steamed buns that can be filled with a variety of items so they definitely lend themselves to a lot of creativity.  At PokéBao, you can select from the Chef’s signature bao buns with fillings like short rib, pork, and even vaca frita! There is definitely a Miami element embedded in the menu.  🙂

An important difference here is that the buns are not only steamed but they are also seared on the outside that results in a sturdier bun that’s not as sticky when you’re eating it.  Many poké places in Miami offer a “build your own bowl” menu but at PokéBao the bowls are served as the chef intended; with their specially crafted ingredients and combinations.

The fast casual concept also serves wine, sparkling sake and beer to enjoy with your poké and bao buns.  I actually never had sparkling sake before and loved it! See below for pictures and menu items I tried that night!

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Zipang Sparkling Sake! Light, refreshing & delicious!
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Yellow fin Tuna Tacos: poké-style chopped tuna, fried wonton tacos, avocado, spicy mayo, cilantro, & black sesame seeds
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Crispy Rice Tuna: fresh chopped yellow fin tuna served on crispy rice, brown butter and burnt soy, topped with a serrano pepper

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One of my favorites!!! Db’s sweet and spicy short rib bao bun: braised short rib, hoisin, pickled vegetables, cilantro, & scallion sour cream
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Perfectly paired with Joel Gott Pinot Noir!
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Here you can definitely see the searing of the steamed buns! Crispy chicken vaca frita: braised then seared chicken thigh, pickled vegetables, feta-tofu sauce, & sesame seeds

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 Now on to the main event! The signature poké bowls!

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Super flavorful & spicy! Db’s spicy ahi tuna: furikake rice, yellow fin tuna, masago, fuego mayo, green onion, & sesame seeds served with veggie tempura fries
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These guys deserve a close-up! 😉 Tempura Fries: fresh cut veggies, Kona beer batter, & pink Hawaiian sea salt served with feta-tofu dressing on the side
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Local crispy whitefish: cilantro rice, locally caught whitefish, serrano pepper, roasted corn, red onion, & citrus salt served with a really yummy yuzu tartar sauce on the side perfect for dipping!

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Restaurant Details:
153 Giralda Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134
Hours: M-F 11am – 9pm, Sat 11am – 4pm, closed Sundays
Disclaimer: You Had Me At Food was invited to try the menu at PokéBao

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