Poke shops popping up all over Chicago

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If you haven't heard of poke yet, don't worry. There's most likely a shop opening up near you soon.

ABC7's Hungry Hound says this Hawaiian specialty is now popping up all over Chicago, including a new store in the Loop that is commanding lines out the door every day.

Poke has been on local menus for a few years, but more recently, we had Aloha Poke Company opening in the French market, and now FireFin in the Loop, where the demand for fast, healthy, tuna and salmon-based bowls, with an assortment of Asian toppings has gone mainstream.

The lines outside FireFin Poke Shop have become routine during the lunch rush in the Loop. The reason? A healthier alternative to a fast lunch, where seafood is the star.

"Poke means to segment or to cut, and basically that's us cutting the fish into small segments, small cubes and traditionally it's served over rice," general manager Orville Diaz said.

White rice is just one of several options. You can also opt for a base of mixed greens, rice noodles or purple rice. Even the toppings offer choice. Sure, there's the usual ahi or albacore tuna, and of course salmon, but if you don't want your protein raw, you can also opt for chicken, tofu or snow crab.

Once you make those two key decisions, then you need to figure out how you're going to top it: cukes, onions and cabbage are just a fraction of what's offered. Then, you might want a sauce - something spicy? Mild? Sweet? And finally, once the bowl is mixed up and plated over your base, you can garnish with whatever you like: goji berries, daikon sprouts, crispy shallots, sesame seeds or spicy togarashi. With so many choices, is it possible there are too many to choose from, and thus, the possibility that you'll mess up your bowl?

"To be honest with you, we've designed the menu for everything to really just go well with each other and it's hard to mess it up," said Diaz.

EXTRA COURSE: Steve talks about some of the unique teas and agua frescas they serve at FireFin.

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A look at some of the unique teas and agua frescas they serve at FireFin.

FireFin Poke Shop
10 S. LaSalle St.
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