I remember a time when poke places were nowhere to be found in Orange County. Today, the list goes on and on. New to that list is Poki Yaki in Buena Park.
Poki Yaki copies the same concept of Pokinometry, one of the most popular poke places in Orange County. You will find the usual ‘build your own poke bowls’ along with teriyaki choices for those picky eaters who wouldn’t dare eat raw rish.
The restaurant, which can be a little tricky to find, was located in a small center just across the street from Knott’s Berry Farm. Keep an eye out for Odori Sushi on the corner of the same center.
Poki Yaki has only been open for a few months, which was evident by the temporary sign above the entrance. A sign for Tokyo Teriyaki, the restaurant that occupied this space before, was still hanging on the awning. This was a little confusing to me.
The inside of the restaurant was quite narrow with a small dining room. The poke counter, cashiers, and kitchen were located opposite the entrance.
The decor was quite basic with simple orange and green walls, salt and pepper table tops, and black chairs. The decor definitely could use an extensive upgrade to bring it back into the 21th century.
Poki Yaki seemed like a place with affordable prices where you order, eat, and move on. Poki Yaki would be a great option for those who have limited time for lunch and need to get in and out as quickly as possible
Medium Poke Bowl
When I arrived, the restaurant was only open for another 30 minutes. I originally planned to order both a poke bowl and something else, such as sushi or teriyaki. I know, I should stick to poke at a poke place, but I was hungry and wanted to get reviews for multiple food items. Unfortunately, the kitchen was closed by the time I arrived and all I could order was poke.
I decided to order the Medium Poke Bowl ($7.95) with tuna, brown rice, along with oma’oma’o and original (ponzu) sauce. Each poke bowl is made to order exactly how you want it. You can choose to add or leave out any ingredients you wish.
Ordering poke was a simple, three step process done at a counter similar to how you would order a sandwich at Subway. If for whatever reason you have any questions, just ask one of the friendly ladies behind the counter and they will gladly help you.
Pick your poke bowl size – small (2 scoops of proteins), medium (3 scoops of proteins), large (5 scoops of proteins).
Pick your protein – spicy tuna, tuna, shrimp, salmon, albacore, bay scallop, octopus.
Pick your sauce – original (ponzu), oma’oma’o, creamy Hawaiian, wa’wa’, spciy mayo.
The poke bowl was then topped with “finish toppings” of masago (fish roe), green onions, wasabi, sesame seeds along with a large scoop of imitation crab meat and a seaweed salad.
The poke bowl, served in a black plastic bowl, looked colorful and was presented beautifully with the highlight being the small cubes of bright red tuna.
With a medium poke bowl, you receive three scoops of proteins. The small size gets you two scoops of proteins while the large size gets you five scoops of proteins. You can mix and match different types of proteins, but I stuck with the classic tuna.
On its own, the tuna was fresh but quite basic and plain like the type of fish you would find in sushi. The magic was made when the fish was mixed with all the other ingredients and sauces, which gave it texture along with salty and sweet flavors that make poke bowls so great.
Topping the fish was a perfect mixture of sesame seeds, which added a perfect crunchy texture, green onions, which added another crunchy texture along with a fresh onion taste, and fish roe for that perfect salty pop.
Sharing the spotlight with the fish was a large scoop of soft and salty imitation crab along with an interesting bright green seafood salad, made up of slippery seaweed that tasted almost like noodles. I also can’t forget to mention the generous amount of wasabi on the side, which when blended with the other ingredients, added an awesome kick of heat that I love oh so much.
I ordered a mixture of the oma’oma’o sauce along with the original (ponzu) sauce. The oddly named oma’oma’o sauce contained green tomato, jalapeno, and onions. The mixture of the sauces added great salty, sweet, and spicy flavors to the fish and brown rice below.
At the bottom of the bowl was a healthy serving of warm brown rice. For arriving almost at closing time, I was surprised that the brown was still fluffy and not overly dry like you find often. The slight crunchy and chewy warm rice complemented the cold and soft fish perfectly.
Another great thing about Poki Yaki was that they did not charge extra for brown rice. It seems like everywhere you go these days you have to shell out extra cash for healthier options.
Fresh, filling, sweet, salty, crunchy, spicy, all at an affordable price. The poke bowl served at Poki Yaki hit on all cylinders with freshness, flavors, and texture.
Service was straightforward and quick. The friendly ladies behind the counter helped answer my questions about the sauces and had me on my way before I knew it.
Poki Yaki joins the growing list of poke spots open or opening in Orange County that offer great poke.
Poki Yaki offers quality food at reasonable prices along with friendly and quick service. If you are in the area, Poki Yaki deserves a stop. If you are not in the area, I would not go out of my way to visit.
If you are craving poke, my advice would be to visit the closest poke place to you, whether it is Poki Yaki, Pokinometry, or Bear Flag Fish Co. You honestly can’t go wrong with any of them.
- Reasonable prices
- Food was prepared quickly
- Friendly service
- Limited parking
- Kitchen was closed before actual closing time (which isn’t unusual)
- Decor needs updating