Poke: The Hawaiian dish with punch

T.O.’s sushi chef to the stars, Shoushin’s Jackie Lin, on the city’s trendiest dish — poke. What bowl is the best in Toronto?


Sushi Shop, 2564 Yonge St., $13.95
“Taste-wise, this is quite balanced. It’s a bit sweet because of the teriyaki sauce and the mayonnaise. It’s nice to have the different textures and different tastes of both salmon and tuna together. This bowl balances all the flavours the best from the salmon to the seaweed [nori].” 

The right rice
Rolltation, 207 Dundas St. W., $14.99
“It’s got a lot of different ingredients with the seaweed salad, egg [tamago] and avocado. The rice is the best in this one, it’s got the right texture. I taste the tuna. It doesn’t have too much seasoning, but I think they could’ve put in more of the wasabi mayo sauce.” 

Korean kimchi
Hoki Poké, 946 Yonge St., $12.45
“This is quite Korean, with the kimchi flavour. The umami soy sauce is good. Everyone uses mayo, because it’s easy, but it doesn’t matter what sauce you use if you use it in a right way. This has a good balance of all the tastes incorporated, but I’d prefer if the edamame was on the side.” 

Ponzu perfection
Big Tuna Poké Bar, 599 Bloor St. W., $10.95
“This one is a bit more refreshing. The ponzu sauce is sour and strong and goes well with the ahi tuna because it’s not a very strong-tasting tuna. I can taste the sesame seeds but not the sweet onions and macadamia nuts, and the rice could be just a touch firmer.” 

A spicy delight
Calii Love, 367 King St. W., $14.95
“The black rice adds a chewy texture, which is nice. I get all the flavours and the sweet onion, but the spice is strong from the sriracha aïoli and the jalapenos. It needs a bit more salt or soya sauce to provide the saltiness and balance out all the spice.” 

Sashimi sensation
Kabuki Sushi Lounge, 4 O’Neill Rd., $15 
“This one has a good balance too. It’s a little sweet with a little touch of sour. The sashimi cubes are all covered in the sauce, and this one is seasoned well. They’ve put brown rice on one side and white rice on the other, but the sauce is the same throughout.” 

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