My name is Matteo Mendoza, Class of 2017. I’m excited to announce my food review column, “Matteo’s Menu,” which will cover a wide range of my favorite places to eat around the metropolitan Los Angeles area. Food gives everyone something to love, and hopefully, my column will, too—so stay hungry!
Just as Pokemon Go took this summer (and Los Angeles) by storm, poke—pronounced the same way—was a summer sensation in its own right. You may have heard about it from your friends or have seen a new restaurant open up in your neighborhood, but now, it’s time for you to try it yourself.
Originating in Hawaii, poke is a raw fish salad that usually is marinated in soy sauce and served over white rice. While it has traditionally been served as a simple appetizer, today’s chefs have reimagined poke into an addicting myriad of different textures, tastes, fish and culture that we now know as the poke bowl. The combination of cubed fish with sauces and toppings makes for a resounding 21st-century answer to the age-old institution of sushi, a fully satisfying meal and a truly global experience.
The undeniable appeal in the poke bowl lies in the endless choices it presents for every lover of food.
My favorite poke restaurant is Poke N Roll on Central Blvd. in Glendale, near the Americana (about 25 minutes north of Loyola). The restaurant is a cozy enclave situated in a strip mall, with both counter and sit-down seating options. Customers can choose their base (white rice, brown rice, or lettuce); two fish from a selection ranging from spicy tuna to salmon to eel; three toppings such as crispy onion, avocado and green onion and a tantalizing sauce like ponzu or spicy mayo. For all this—and free additions of crab and garlic cream if you’re a Yelp member—you can taste all that poke has to offer for just $11. Poke is not only delicious but also affordable; you’ll find it hard to order a poke bowl for more than $15.
My personal order at Poke N Roll is a spicy tuna, salmon and crab bowl with avocado, crispy onions, seaweed salad, ponzu sauce and garlic cream. Poke N Roll was the first poke restaurant I’ve ever been to; now, I’m totally hooked, and I hope you will be, too.