Just in case you thought North Texas hadn’t hit peak poke just yet, there’s a new joint in town. Joining the growing batch of restaurants at Dallas’ Mockingbird Station, Poke O promises to deliver more than just marinated raw fish with vegetables.
“We’re artists, we’re chefs, we’re all involved in the world of beauty,” says Adnan Reguieg, one of the restaurant’s three co-founders. “The intention is that food is just secondary and everything else — the art, music and the ambiance — are the priority, the first thing people should be encountering.”
It’s a risky premise, especially since Poke O is the trio’s first foray into the restaurant business. But in an area brimming with Hawaiian raw fish joints — Below 40 Poke House, Hoki Poki, the Lowkey Poke Joint, Pok The Raw Bar, Poke Bop, Malibu Poke, Bowls and Tacos, Mola Mola Poke — Reguieg thinks a distinct ambiance is just what the scene needs.
Poke O, which sits at the bottom of the stairs beneath the Angelika Film Center, is a minimalist dream: sleek tables, clean lines, fresh flowers and white walls, which will play host to a rotating collection of local art.
“The art is constantly going to change, and so will the music. The food will change according to the season, and the menu will constantly evolve,” Reguieg said. “If you come today and if you come in three months, it won’t be the same.”
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For Reguieg and co-owners Zuhair Al-Shawwa and Hamid Mehvari, fish is adaptable and the pairable ingredients are boundless. On the menu, you'll find a Mediterranean salmon bowl with couscous, yellow radish, pineapple, bell peppers, avocado, sweet onions and mint in a chili lime sauce. There’s also a Tex-Mex shrimp bowl stacked high with roasted corn, red onions, cilantro, mango salsa, avocados and crispy onions in a Sriracha-macha sauce. There’s even a vegan-friendly bowl with tofu, cucumbers, edamame, mango and shredded coconut. You can always create your own with additional proteins such as tuna, spicy tuna or yellowtail.
“[Poke] gives us the ability to be expressive in different ways," Reguieg says. "You can go to the farmers market and get beautiful vegetables, and it will allow you to add it to your food and it will accept it in many different ways. It makes us more creative. It’s like a painter who can paint without restrictions.”
Poke O will open at Mockingbird Station at the end of June.
Poke O, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane