We have noticed, over the many years of poké coming to the shores of the mainland US, that not a lot of shops (chiefly the big name franchises) focus on Hawaiian style poké. The attempts (guilty: us included) of capturing the magic in a bowl that is Hawaiian poké has led to a lot of fully customizable cafeteria style QSRs (quick service restaurant) that mimic a certain burrito franchise that may or may not rhyme with Knee-potle. Spinach based gluten free noodles do not belong in a bowl of poké, sorry guys.

That is a trend we are trying to buck! Poké should not be sushi in a bowl. Sushi is fantastic and is absolutely essential to my upbringing (see: Joss Cafe & Sushi Bar), but the Japanese have chirashi, which is delicately cut sashimi (raw fish) and other seafood arranged almost like a bouquet of flowers over a bed of seasoned sushi rice. It is beautiful in it’s own right, but not what most consider an equivalent to Hawaiian poké.


We want to simplify our menu and go back to the way it is done in the islands. This, unfortunately, means NO GREENS. Preset poké (with some ability to modify) + white rice ONLY is the current plan.

deli poke.jpg

We are not saying that we need to go completely deli style like the Ala Moana Foodland Farms in Honolulu (see: deli style service pictured above), but as an operator, we should want to represent the dish while paying homage to its roots.

Along with our homage to Hawaiian poké, we also want to buck the trend of plastics being used in restaurants all together. As some of you may know, Hawaii is an island state and has recently proposed a law to ban single use plastics. With environmental conservation in mind, we have now committed to the use of compostable containers and utensils only.

We are only one small shop in one city in the world, but we are going to stick to our principles and make these changes.

See Action Bronson head to Kahuku Superette, the finest purveyor of poké on Oahu.

Beginnings and our first year in Baltimore!

ono original plated all fancy with salad...

ono original plated all fancy with salad...

So this is our first official blog post and it is sort of an introduction to our restaurant, Ono Poké. In the coming weeks, months, and years (let's hope!) we will share opinions, tell stories, post recipes, and other things that I am sure you can find elsewhere on the internet...but you are tuned in here, so let's go with it!

My fascination with the unique food and culture of our 50th State goes back to the year 2000 (Y2K!) when I had the chance to visit Honolulu, HI for the first time. The family business has been Japanese food in the DMV area since the late 1970's and, namely, Joss Cafe & Sushi Bar since 1991. With a Taiwanese and Japanese background, I naturally had an attraction to the melding of different Asian and American flavors/spices that make Hawaiian food so special. When we got back from Hawaii, we introduced our version of Ahi Tuna poké that was honestly more like a Japanese tuna tartar with the size of the cuts and ingredients. Not "real poké" for the purists, but it was and still is one of the best sellers on the menu! 

Skip to 2017 and I am more experienced, (hopefully) more skillful, and crazy enough to try and make this thing happen in Baltimore. On July 6, 2017 after some rigorous menu testing and much trial and error, we opened our first location of Ono Poké. The rest is history, as they say, and we very much have the pleasure of serving our community in downtown Baltimore City!