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A poke-based personality test has yet to be rolled out by Playbuzz, but chances are that if you love the simple things in life, you spring for the type of poke that you can find in Hawaii—cubes of raw fish with just a brush of sesame oil and soy, and maybe some slices of Maui onion.
If you’re all about the idea that more is more, there are newfangled fast-casual poke shops like Poké Papa that allow patrons to customize bowls so they’re brimming with rice, fish, seaweed salad, pineapple, mango, edamame, crab salad, and an array of sauces.
Poké Papa owner Kerry Chao is confident that the latter type of poke has its fans. He’s opening two new locations in the D.C. region starting with one at 1919 Pennsylvania Ave. NW (near GW and the World Bank) in late 2018, and a second in the Montgomery Mall food court in Bethesda in early 2019.
The menus at both new ventures will mirror the one at the original Poké Papa, which opened in April 2017 in Chinatown (806 H St. NW). There are set orders like the “Onolicious” bowl or “The Beach Bum” bowl, and customers can alternatively build their own, working their way down an assembly line of proteins and toppings.
Chao intimates that this could be the beginning of a larger wave of local expansion. Poke in general is sweeping the city. Abunai Poke, Poki DC, Honeyfish Poke, Aloha Poke, Poke It Up, Pokéworks, Tiki Taco, and District Fishwife are among the D.C. area restaurants serving the signature Hawaiian dish.
When Poké Papa first opened, City Paper brought Maui-born Pastry Chef Tiffany MacIsaac of Buttercream Bakeshop to the restaurant for a taste test.
Poké Papa, 1919 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; (202) 393-7653; pokepapa.com