Reno’s love of raw fish makes it no surprise that Hawaiian-style poke bowls have recently been making quite a splash. Decorated with surfboards, vintage bikes and other island touches, Pola Poke Bowls is trying to bring a bit of island paradise to our beloved high desert.
My dining companions and I were each warmly greeted and handed a two-sided, laminated menu with dry erase marker. One side lists a collection of specialty poke bowls ($12.95), and fruit and granola acai bowls ($8.95). Flip it over, and you have a “build your own bowl” list of ingredients divided by category, each with a handy checkbox to mark your selections. This made ordering much more efficient, kept the line moving, and had the bonus of zero paper waste—great idea.
If building your own bowl, you’ll start with a base of brown rice, white rice, kale, mixed greens or a combination of these. Next, you’ll select your proteins from a choice of blue crab, chicken, octopus, salmon, tuna or spicy tuna. A two scoop bowl is $11.95, three scoops is $14.95—mix or match. Sauces include chili garlic, creamy togarashi, pineapple-citrus-ponzu, sesame shoyu, teriyaki and wasabi sesame shoyu; you can have the lot if you’re into culinary chaos.
A pretty big list of unlimited add-ons includes carrot, corn, spicy shredded krab, cucumber, shelled edamame, fresh jalapeno, masago and more. Avocado and mango are each $1 extra. Finish it off with crunchy toppings such as flaked coconut, crispy garlic, crispy onion or nori flakes. Now you can see why the checkbox menu is so great for the task at hand.
I opted for the “superfood” bowl ($12.95), which starts with kale and brown rice topped with sesame shoyu, cucumber, sesame seed, scallion, onion, avocado, edamame, ginger, seaweed salad, furikake and seaweed flake. It normally comes with a couple of scoops of salmon, but I paid a couple of extra bucks and got a mix of that plus octopus and blue crab, as well as some spicy krab with the toppings. Everything tasted fresh. The lump crab was sweet, and the octopus wasn’t chewy. It was a completely enjoyable bowl of healthy food.
The adult kids built their own two-scoop bowls and shared with my grandson. I’m convinced that adventurous toddler will eat just about anything, especially if you tell him it’s “dinosaurs.” My son and daughter-in-law each got bowls of brown rice, hers topped with blue crab, salmon, sesame shoyu, teriyaki, krab, cucumber, red bell pepper, seaweed salad, pineapple, crispy garlic and sesame seed. The other was dressed with blue crab, octopus, pineapple-citrus ponzu sauce, carrot, krab, cucumber, edamame, masago, red bell pepper, scallion, seaweed salad, pineapple and every single crunchy topping. Just call my son “Captain Chaos.”
My more reserved daughter chose kale with blue crab, spicy tuna, spicy krab, masago, scallion, shaved red onion, dried seaweed and no sauce in the bowl—but a little sesame on the side. Everyone enjoyed their selections, with plans discussed for a return breakfast visit to try acai bowls with mugs of locally roasted coffee.
Our pleasant evening was capped with a complimentary dessert bowl, provided for kids under 13 ($3 otherwise). The youngster loved his scoop of tartly sweet acai sorbet with sliced banana and granola, and he even let his gramps have a taste.