After working in a Japanese restaurant in New York and later helping his father Charlie Cao get Big Bang Mongolian Grill off the ground on Green River Road, Jun Cao was ready to bring some fresh flavors to Diamond Avenue in the former location of his father’s Charlie’s Mongolian BBQ. In November last year, Poké Pirate began offering Evansville a taste of the Hawaiian and Japanese cuisine, poke (which rhymes with OK). The dish traditionally features raw fish, but for eaters not quite ready to venture that far, Cao assures diners there are plenty of cooked options like shrimp, octopus, scallops, tofu, salmon, and chicken.
“I’ve been thinking about something else, something different in this city,” says Cao. “I think there’s a lot of people who eat raw fish in Evansville, and that really surprised me.”
Dressed to Impress
In Hawaiian poke, Cao says a simple sauce of Hawaiian salt, soy sauce, and sesame oil is used, but Poké Pirate likes to kick things up a notch. The Poké Pirate Classic sauce is made of soy sauce, chili oil, sesame oil, chili flakes, and sugar for a sweet and spicy flavor.
White sushi rice is used as a base for poké bowls. Sushi rice, as opposed to regular white rice, is a high-quality rice dressed with Japanese rice vinegar.
To add more fresh flavors and textures to the dish, the Classic also includes cucumbers, green onions, sweet onions, and sesame seeds, which are some of many add-ins.
The traditional fish used in Hawaiian poke is raw ahi tuna, which comes in the Poké Pirate Classic bowl and doesn’t even require seasoning with its fresh, clean flavor.
Under the Sea
One of the most traditional ingredients of Hawaiian poke is seaweed, and the Classic utilizes a dried ogo seaweed.
812-303-2131 • pokepirate.com