Poke Bop. Pok the Raw Bar. Malibu Poke. Poke O. Go Fish Poke. Bowls and Tacos. Poke Sushi Roll. Cbowls Poke. Mola Mola Poke. Hoki Poki. These are just a few of the poke restaurants that have opened in Dallas in the last two years, and we're not even mentioning the dozens of other poke restaurants dotting the suburbs, or the sushi spots, seafood restaurants and Asian grocery stores where you can also get a bowl of marinated raw fish and vegetables.
DFW is infested with fast-casual poke — far more than the market could possibly sustain in the long-term — but still, the openings just keep coming. The latest: Poke O just officially opened in Mockingbird Station after a lengthy soft open, and Mamasan House of Poke opened in late June at 2818 N. Fitzhugh Ave.
"Also unique to the concept, instead of the popular 'build-your-own' format, Mamasan offers 13 signature dish options, each available as a bowl or a roll," according to a press release. "Five categories of protein include seafood, chicken, pork, beef and veggie — truly offering something for everyone."
Poke nachos, poke burritos, poke bowls, poke rolls — there's no escaping this dish right now in Dallas. There's good reason for poke to do well in a city like Dallas, where fast-casual health food is all the rage and it's hot as hell for several months out of the year.
But this rate of poke growth feels unsustainable at best and like shooting ourselves in the foot at worse. Dallas loves to beat a concept to death, repeating itself so frequently that even concepts that do it well eventually fall out of style.
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The problem isn't just in Dallas, either. A Chicago poke chain is currently under fire for trying to trademark the word "aloha." (Real poke, by the way, is a Hawaiian dish.)
Didn't I say this craze for fake poke was not going to end well?— Jeff Chang (@zentronix) August 1, 2018
Bad for overfishing.
Bad for the culture.
Shit just tastes bad.
Let's hasten its demise. #boycottfakepoke#AlohaAlsoMeansBye#ByeColonizers
(Also no 'okina or accent over the "e", poseurs!)https://t.co/BfllHQ77xZ
We love poke. Hell, we even drive to H Mart in Carrollton just to peruse their awesome sashimi selection to make our own riff on poke bowls at home on days when it's too damn hot to turn on the stove.
But something's gotta give. We'll give Mamasan House of Poke a try — just because they're late to jump on the bandwagon doesn't mean they don't make great poke — but if we keep over-saturating the market, we run the risk of eventually killing even the great poke restaurants when this fad inevitably runs its course. Dallas diners are especially fickle, and they're not forgiving, either.