Continuing on with the poké theme, Vv Magazine’s Libby Roach takes us inside the latest Hawaiin restaurant to open in Toronto.
The latest food trend to sweep Toronto is making waves throughout the city; a poké invasion is clearly upon us with the Hawaiian staple popping up all over. North Poké is one of those poké-stops, setting up shop in colorful Kensington Market.
Kensington was a natural choice for owner Linda Dang to open her first restaurant. Obsessed with since trying the dish in Kauai, Linda longed to bring this Hawaiian staple to the Toronto market, but location was key. After months of searching, a perfect storefront opened on Baldwin Street and Linda snapped up the spot.
Longboard Living, a Kensington surf shop supplied the cutesy custom signage “practically free” mentions Linda. The neighborhood is like that, and that’s precisely why she was so insistent on a market address. Inside, a hula girl focal wall welcomes you to the space, with cheerful ukuleles acting as kitschy décor.
The menu is as tidy as the adorable takeaway, with authentic poké eats eating up most of the menu.
The Big Wave Bowl ($5.95 – snack size pictured below) boasts buttery albacore tuna with charred jalapeno citrus marinade, a creamy black garlic mayo and pickled shallots. Resting on crispy rice, the savory fish is well balanced with crispy taro chips acting as a complementary texture.
Heat seekers will dig the Spicy Waimea ($5.95), bringing a kick of heat courtesy of togarashi aioli dressing. Fried shallots and diced green onions pair well with poppy fish roe. Crispy rice is addictive and another natural base for this bowl, but you can also opt for brown rice or salad for any bowl as well.
If you haven’t experienced poké before then tuck into the Hawaii Classic ($5.95). Tender ahi tuna comes dressed to impress with shoyu dressing, flakes of nori, fried shallots, creamy avocado, and crispy taro chips showcasing a lot of aloha into one perfect portion.
Known for their spam everything, Linda continues the Hawaiian tradition with the Spam Musubi ($2.50 each or $2/4). Not a part of the regular menu, the spam special is quintessential ono grinds, a nod to the culture and history of the island, where almost no meal comes without the canned meat loaf.
Linda has clearly done her homework to keep things definitively Hawaiian and honors the ‘momma’ way of making poké. Up next she’ll be cooling things down with another classic Hawaiian specialty, look for her shave ices to take over your Instagram account- she’s imported a machine straight from paradise.
North Poké is located at 179 Baldwin St. and is open 7 days a week, 11am to 9pm.
Have you tried North Poké yet? Which dish was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.