The moment you enter the bright, clean space occupied by new restaurant Haus of Poké in the Rancho Las Palmas Shopping Center at Highway 111 and Bob Hope Drive, you see the following written on a large sign: “Poké/poukei/ is a raw fish salad served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine, and sometimes as an entrée… Typical forms are aku (an oily tuna) and he’e (octopus). Increasingly popular ahi poké is generally made with yellowfin tuna. Adaptations may feature raw salmon or various shellfish as a main ingredient served raw with common ‘poké’` seasonings.”
As an ardent fan of sushi, sashimi, and poké, I was much looking forward to this new eatery’s opening. And let me tell you, from the first bite during my first visit, I was in poké heaven! The ingenious brainchild of Monica and Tim Bradley—yes, the Tim Bradley, Jr. of professional boxing fame—Haus of Poké is a family affair. That clan includes family of origin such as Monica’s brother Chris Manzo (manager) as well as chosen family such as Monica’s bestie Mary Jane Rin (manager) and chefs Joel Jiminez and Cezar Tapia.
The concept is simple enough: In an “assembly” line much like the one found at a Chipotle or Pieology (analogies Monica welcomes), one first chooses the desired meal size. Small is two scoops, medium is three, large is four, and a poké burrito is three scoops with white rice. Then comes the base: brown rice, white rice, salad, or chips. Step three is protein: ahi tuna, yellowtail, salmon, tofu, shrimp, or octopus (with the latter two not served raw). Mix-ins come next. Choose from edamame, red onion, mango, cucumber, or green onion. Then pick your sauce: the Haus special (a spicy soy sauce), eel sauce, lemongrass, traditional, ponzu, spicy mayo, or mustard ponzu. Finally come the toppings: crab meat, pickled ginger, wasabi, spicy tuna, serrano chiles, masago, seaweed, seaweed salad, avocado, furikake, crispy garlic, crispy onion, or roasted sesame seeds. Unless you want a side of the team’s delicious miso soup, you’re good to go and all that’s left to do is enjoy. Beverages enjoy fountain drinks, coconut water, sparkling or still bottled water, flavored tea, or an assortment of specialty milk teas (Thai, jasmine, almond, coconut).
Monica says she will offer specials based on market availability. Ono when she can get it, for example, or ceviche for Cinco de Mayo! Oh, and lest I forget my vegetarian friends, there are more than enough options to sate their appetite too.
When asked why poké and why Rancho Mirage, Monica—a native of the Coachella Valley—replied that the city is her family’s home, and no one else nearby yet has the market cornered on this type of offering. “Plus, we just needed a new adventure,” she says. With her fare as healthy as it is scrumptious, I have no doubt that Monica, Tim, and their loved ones will do quite well. I wish them all the best—and can’t wait to return!