Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler and supported by our underwriter, Bite Squad.
There’s an argument to be made that we shouldn’t be eating poke here in Minnesota at all: we’re a long way from hanging out beachside on a Hawaiian island, eating a minimalist lunch of raw bits of just-caught Pacific ocean fish over lightly seasoned, carefully prepared rice. Most of the poke bowls that have landed locally back that idea up, as the bowls tend to be overdressed, overpriced, confused, and mediocre.
Leave it to Matthew Kazama (of Ramen Kazama) to crack the code at the newly opened Fish Bowl Poké, right next door to his ramen shop at 34th and Nicollet. The Rock-n-Roll bowl isn’t exactly pared down—it features your choice of protein (we got raw tuna), tomatoes, cucumber, masago (delicate fish roe), fried garlic, and spicy mayo with unagi sauce. But everything plays together so well (and the overall quality of the individual components is so high) that instead of tasting like a traffic jam, it’s an operetta of flavor, with different bites striking sometimes dramatically different chords. You get crunchy (garlic and roe), you get soft (fish), you get hot (rice), you get cold (veg and fish), you get rich (mayo), you get spicy (sriracha).
You can compose your bite, or you can take it as it comes. Either way, the dish works because there aren’t any weak links—the tomatoes we had were surprisingly fresh and flavorful, the fish tender and rich, the veggies evenly sliced and crisp. A dish like this all comes down to the details, and stuff’s in order at Fish Bowl. It’s probably not a shrewd move to take a Hawaiian out for poke in Minnesota, but if you’re going to do it, this is definitely the place.
The Dish: Rock-n-Roll Bowl at Fish Bowl Poké, $8–15
The Place: Fish Bowl Poké in Minneapolis
The Reason: It’s a shotgun blast of bold flavors and distinct textures, but it retains an overall sense of balance that makes it delicious
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