pokéLOVE will be opening soon at Town & Country Village, owner Alex Chan confirmed via email. He’s taken over suite 9, a space in "Building 1" at the El Camino Real shopping center, between clothing stores Joie and Francesca’s Collections (near where Scott’s Seafood was previously located).
Poké (pronounced poke-ay) — cubed, raw fish (from tuna and salmon to octopus and shrimp) often mixed with spices or add-ins — is a ubiquitous staple in Hawaii that’s been utilized (and some might say appropriated) to open fast-casual, Chipotle-style restaurant models throughout the Bay Area (not to mention Los Angeles, New York City and elsewhere).
Chan wouldn’t say much about the new Palo Alto restaurant, other than in the abstract:
"The concept is very different from what is currently out there," Chan wrote in an email. "It’s taking poke to a whole level. Crazy fresh fish, traditional and edgy toppings, vibrant homemade dressings, endless combinations, made to order right before your eyes. Food that is simple, straightforward, yet incredibly flavorful. My goal is to create a place where all food lovers can find their own perfect elusive balance of salty, sour, sweet, bitter, spicy, and umami in a fun, relaxed and chill atmosphere."
If the general concept of pokéLOVE is anything like the myriad fast-casual, dedicated poké shops opening in the Bay Area, it will offer customers a chance to build customized poké-based meals. Take Poké Bar in downtown Mountain View, where you can choose your base (salad, tortilla chips or, rice — white or brown), then your poké (including tuna, salmon, seared albacore, spicy tuna, octopus, shrimp, scallop and tofu), various add-ins like cucumbers, green onions, edamame, corn and jalapeño; and then top with sauces like ponzu, spicy mayo, sweet chili and wasabi mayo.
A bowl at Poké Bar in Mountain View with salmon poké, mango, edamame, crab meat and seaweed served on a bed of salad. Photo by Michelle Le/Palo Alto Weekly.
Also slated to open soon in downtown Mountain View is Poké Works, which offers the same kind of concept. Owner Kasper Hsu last said that he was aiming for an April opening but hadn’t set a date yet.
Chan said construction at the Palo Alto space is "progressing," and details about a grand opening could be coming in May. Stay tuned.