Poke All Day

First Bite: Laki Fish

Tiger Den owner Mike Tran adds poké to his empire.

By Beth Levine October 30, 2017

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Sambal octopus and yuzu guacamole? This isn't your average poke place.

Image: Beth Levine

It was just a few weeks ago that Night Market Thai was Mike Tran's newest restaurant. But as Eater put it, he "just can't stop opening restaurants." The latest, his entry into Houston's poke craze, opened last week. Laki Fish is located in Dun Huang Plaza, next to Tran's much-loved ramen hot spot Tiger Den.

Still in its soft opening phase, Laki is operating with a temporary menu consisting of selections from a pre-mixed poke bar, allowing customers to order two scoops of base (sushi rice, brown rice, lettuce), two scoops of protein and two scoops of sides ranging from the more traditional seaweed salad to Tran's take on potato salad. These poke platters run $12 apiece. For those not sure what type of fish to get, diners can ask for a sample taste of each before ordering.

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No other cuisine relies on ice cream scoops quite the way Hawaiian does.

Image: Beth Levine

We started off with brown rice and sushi rice for our bases, then went on to order shoyu ahi, spicy ahi, salmon ceviche and spicy salmon. The shoyu and the ceviche were both on the lighter side ingredient-wise, one in a primarily soy based mix (the ahi), the other in a citrus marinade (the salmon). Both of the spicy options were a little bit heavier with spicy mayo as a main ingredient. If you like heat, we also taste tested the wasabi salmon, very similar to the shoyu but with salmon instead of ahi and fresh ginger. For our sides, we went with three choices: seaweed salad, crab salad and the hijiki-quinoa salad. The seaweed and quinoa combo with shiitakes in citrus dressing was the stellar standout, worth a to-go container for seconds. (Pro tip: you can ask for tastes of the sides as well).

In addition to the poke platters, Laki also has some standard extras like miso soup, some non-standard extras like yuzu guacamole, acaï bowls and smoothies. Currently there is no liquor served at Laki, but that doesn't mean there won't be. While the waiting line for Tiger Den is still going strong in front of Laki's entrance, there was no wait for the new restaurant the night we went, so if you want to get your poke fix, grab yourself a table now before the line outside matches Tiger Den's.

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