I know we have readers all over the world, but I have to include restaurant reviews when I have a meal I love. Luckily I travel a lot so there may be a review near you!
We went to Maui in 2011 for Kimberly’s wedding. It was amazing. Our family is large, so growing up we never really did family vacations. We all had a blast there. Going to the local market, in their deli section, they had trays of poke (rhymes with okay) and seaweed and we’d load up containers of them and take it with us to the beach for a delicious meal.
Poke is a raw fish salad so it’s marinated which is what makes it different than sushi. It’s also cut very chunky. Much like the first time I saw guacamole I was not sold on sushi. I prefer my fish cooked, thank you very much. But then you start with california rolls which are cooked and next thing you know you’re slurping down sea urchin (or at least I am)! The great thing about sushi and poke is you don’t have to worry that your fish is overcooked and dry so the fantastic taste of the fish comes thru.
The other day I’m reading an article on Eater Seattle about this fantastic new place that everyone is buzzing about (I love to read about food, shocking!). Best poke outside of Hawaii. With a review like that, I have to check it out. The problem is, I don’t really drive to Seattle too often to eat, usually only when I have friends in town or plans with my brother, traffic is a nightmare. Only takes half an hour to get to Seattle but anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to get to your destination. But this was a place I had to check out, something different. A poke shop inside of a convenience store. Yep, the best poke this side of the Pacific was at a Stop N Shop Corner Market.
Apparently, the word has been spreading and according to Yelp, they sell out by dinnertime and the lines can go outside the door. I told Nancy I wanted to get there early, don’t want to risk them running out and I wanted to beat the crowds so we got there not too long after they opened. There were only a handful of people in the shop.
The menu is pretty simple. I read some good things about the burrito but amazing things about the bowl. I’m going bowl. I’m more of a salmon girl than tuna but poke was all about the tuna in Maui so I did one fish tuna and one salmon. For only a dollar more you get another serving of fish, hell to the yeah! The menu says it’s served with avocado, crabmeat (more like krabmeat), seaweed salad, onion, cucumber carrot and house sauce but I think it’s a flexible menu. Mine had tobiko, sesame seeds and edamame on it but no cucumber and carrot. I am not complaining. I will take it however they serve it.
It’s not that big of a place and nestled in one corner is their deli area. We walked between the shelves of potato chips and candy to get the register. We weren’t exactly sure where to order since people were milling about but that seemed like the safe bet. The gal working the counter was very sweet and of course, we were very enthusiastic. The guy behind the deli asked us if it was our first time, we totally had that noob vibe about us, and we let him know we had heard about it on Eater and read the reviews on Yelp. He said don’t set your expectations too high. Too late, mine were sky high!
Because we got there early, service was fast. Because it’s a Stop N Shop they only seat 4 so we grabbed our food to go. They had the doors open and the store was in the shade so it was too cold for me. We went to sit in the car to eat but first I had to take a photo. Just looking at this bowl made me happy.
We sat in the car and dug in. All you could hear were our groans of happiness. It was as good as the revews made it out to be and as delicious as it was beautiful. Forget having a conversation with lunch. I actually had to eat a few bites before I could even get to the rice. Talk about getting my money’s worth, no filler in this bowl! I have to say, every single bite was delicious. The marinade for the poke is flavoful but mild so that the fish shines thru. The crazy thing is I could eat this bowl without the poke and be happy. Even the rice is seasoned. I mean, I don’t want to eat it without the poke but I totally could! It was that good! I have to say, for me, the salmon was better than the tuna but then again, I do prefer salmon usually, unless it’s toro. Ohhhh toro, you deliciously buttery piece of melt in my mouth tuna…
This meal blew us away so much and I so rarely get into Seattle that I decided I was going to pick a bowl up to take home for dinner. The bowl is almost too much. It could easily be split into two meals. I mean, I did eat it all, but you could make it two meals. And because I’m the most awesome sister ever, I wanted to grab a bowl for Kimberly also. She loves sushi and she goes into Seattle even less than I do.
We walked into the shop and they busted out laughing. I was like, “long time no see.” The gal at the register even remembered my name, Nancy was too generic for her. I took a pic of the guys working behind the counter. I was trying to be stealth like but they saw me so they hammed it up. I’m disappointed that the reflection in the glass made it harder to see them. I went with 2 orders of salmon this time and our bowls were slightly different, included some dried seaweed and ginger.
So if you’re ever in the Wallingford area of Seattle or just in Seattle and in the mood for some awesome seafood at an affordable price, I can’t recommend these guys enough! Amazing food and fantastic people, what more can a hungry asian ask for?
PS: Nancy highly recommends the fountain fruit punch, it says Tropicana but tastes like Hawaiian Punch!
2323 N 45th St.
Seattle, WA 98103
Open Monday to Saturday 11am – 3pm and 5pm – 9pm