Monday, November 28, 2011

Eat Like a Local on the Big Island of Hawaii: Da Poke Shack, Number One for a Reason.

Da Poke Shack is Kona's Number One rated restaurant on Trip Advisor. Maybe that's why we waited so long to walk through the doors. It's like the Beatles, or Snuggies, or Harry Potter. It's so popular, you feel like you can't join in at this point without feeling dumb. That wagon is crowded enough without you.

And then when you do join, you wonder what the hell took you so long. Because the wagon is crowded for a reason. This is good stuff. And it would be a shame to miss it just because everyone else is busy enjoying it.

And so it is with Da Poke Shack. Poke is basically salad made with incredibly fresh raw fish, seaweed, salt and a variety of other seasonings. (If you dig sushi, you're gonna love it.) And these guys know their stuff. They are all fishermen and local guys who love super fresh seafood and know how it should be prepared: quickly, simply, with love and not a lot of fanfare.

We opted for the plate lunch, which anywhere else in Hawaii would mean mac salad (that's macaroni salad for the uninitiated. Overcooked macaroni slathered in mayonaise plopped onto your plate via ice cream scoop. Yuck.) rice and terriyaki chicken or pork. At Da Poke Shack, it means two choices of poke, salad (we chose seaweed) and seasoned rice.

Never tried poke before? Not sure which of the many bowls to choose from? No problem brah. The guys behind the counter lovingly dole out tastes via toothpick, describing what ingredients are in each dish and happily making suggestions. Don't be shy. Take them up on it- their friendly enthusiasm is part of what makes this little hole in the wall place so very special. It's number one for a reason.

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