When I visited Seaside Poke for the first time, I was impressed by the creative collages of flavors and textures represented in their poke bowls. It was July and 90 degrees outside.
When I visited Seaside Poke for the second time, I was again impressed. It was October and again 90 degrees outside.
Obviously, there’s one thing wrong with this picture, and here’s a clue, it’s not the food at Seaside Poke, specifically the two surprising seasonal specials.
There is most assuredly no pumpkin spice here. Instead, during October this popular EaDo poke joint is offering a piscine spin on chips-and-salsa in the form of salmon skin chicharrones (the chips) paired with a side green chile sambal and nuoç mam (the salsa). This appetizer allows the chefs to waste not by providing a use for fish scraps and their customers to want not, as the only thing more delicious than salmon skin is fried salmon skin. With a delicate batter exterior, the chicharrones have a terrific, only slightly oily crisp that render them the perfect edible spoon for the feisty salsa.
Upon reading the description of the seasonal tuna coconut curry bowl, I was worried I was about to encounter an unpleasantly heavy-handed coconut taste akin to that found in curries dished out at bad Thai restaurants. Seaside Poke’s chefs Tai Nguyen and Vuthy “Tee” Srey have instead managed to assemble a bowl whose flavor profile is made sweeter and richer by the inclusion of coconut, but not overwhelmed so as to drown out the lighter, more refreshing components of cucumber, basil and celery. A sprinkle of peanuts and fried shallots inflects the soft curry and supple rice bed with welcome punches of crunch.
The clock is ticking, so I have marked my calendar to return to Seaside Poke for a third time ASAP. Fingers crossed, it won’t be 90 degrees.