647 N High St.
Columbus, OH 43215
Originating as a food truck that served hotspots around Central Ohio, Hai Poké opened its first brick and mortar restaurant in the hot High Street corridor in Columbus’ Short North. The small operation specializes in poke — the raw seafood salad that has grown in popularity for its clean ingredients, untarnished by cooking them with unhealthy or unnatural additives. It could be described, even, as minimalist. For that very simple menu though, you’ve got an absolutely wonderful experience. Nice people, convenient location, and food that just feels pure.
Poke bowls are a simple delight. A salad with a cut of fish as a base and vegetables. Then it’s topped with a sauce to your liking. Some options that are great:
- Salmon Poke: Diced marinated salmon topped with cucumbers, jalapeños, onions, spicy bean sprouts, and lime, plus two sauces. It’s got a sturdy, rising heat, so you can’t scarf it down too quickly. The bean sprouts and rice add a lot to give the dish kind of a medium to deliver some flavor from those sauces.
- Porke: This one features the addition of humbà, a Filipino fried pork shoulder that’s crispy and crunchy, accentuated with a plentiful helping of onions and jalapeno peppers. In this case, the spice is definitely needed to bring a strong, elecritfying fresh heat to the crunch of the pork. Having some avocado will cool things a bit, when the avocado is fresh.
- Wonton Chips: There are so well-liked, they’re sold by the bag in stores! Crunchy wontons with a nice sprinkling of salt. These are popular enough they sell bags of them here and there.
The restaurant has the more typical fast-casual kind of service thanks to its small size, letting you pick out the ingredients you like and having them brought to you. Many of the active people moving through the Short North prefer this food to go, and it’s perfect for that reason.
All told this place is a favorite in the Short North and an active social media strategy ensures it keeps its people close. It’s worth a try.
- Frequent customer? There’s an email list that frequently offers specials and coupons, and if you’re fine to add your phone number, it’ll give you a chance to save up for some free goodies, too.
- Customization is king here, so there are a lot of options to avoid one kind of food or another. You don’t even have to eat the fish, there’s a tofu recipe too.
- Consider the pork, a Filipino dish, for some meat other than fish.