Let’s say you’re sitting at your desk somewhere downtown Chicago. You’ve had a hard day so far. It’s lunchtime, but you have a lot to finish before quitting time. You’re hungry. So, do you rush out to grab lunch, waste maybe half an hour plus, and then rapidly house it down on the walk back to the office; do you forget lunch altogether, or do you just slowly beat your head against the wall?
A better solution? ASAP Poke (that’s pronounced po-kay, and as you probably know, is raw fish with lots of other stuff). ASAP Poke, which launched just last Tuesday, delivers the raw fish (salmon, tuna, etc.) in a salad with multiple ingredients and rice. Prices run in the low double digits (all under $12.95, and that includes delivery).
We like poke because it’s so simple and seems so undeniably healthy. At the Windy City Smokeout last night, we had some outstanding bbq from places like Barry Sorkin’s Smoque BBQ though one of our favorite bites was from Aloha Poke Company, which was kind enough to offer condoms with our bowl of raw fish (Carolyn grabbed some, thinking they were wet-naps).
The first thing that strikes you when you open the circular take-away containers of ASAP Poke is that, damn, this is one colorful collection of food. It just looks a lot better than our typical at-home or at-office lunch. Rich slices of avocado, eye-catching watermelon radish, glowing emerald green seawood, ginger, it all looks so great on the plate and it’s probably better than any pale lunch option you might be able to come up with at the last minute, asap.
ASAP Poke comes to us from Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, the restaurant group behind Shaw’s Crab House, Café Ba-Ba-Reeba, Maggiano’s and about a zillion other well-known eating zones, many in Chicago but with outposts all over North America. These guys know the restaurant business, and this new “digital restaurant” is a collaboration between several seasoned LEYE chefs.
This is the era of food customization (thus the popularity of ubiquitous restaurant customer-customizaton appliances like the Coke Freestyle and Pepsi Spire – “hey, I’m going to mix lemonade and cola with a squirt of root beer!” – and the tendency of places like restaurants in the Francesca Group, including local Francesca’s Fiore, to give diners the opportunity to pretty much have the kitchen put together whatever they want as long as the ingredients are on the regular menu). In line with that trend toward letting diners “have it their way,” ASAP Poke offers several regular bowls but also gives customers the chance to mix ingredients just they want and then have the finished bowls delivered however and wherever they want. To rice (brown or sushi) or some other grain (like quinoa), you can pick your fish and add to it shredded lettuce, jalapenos, scallions, cucumber, soy beans and so on.
Ingredients are also available in rolls.
It’s pretty cool.
You can order ASAP Poke by going to their site: http://asappokechicago.com/