Restaurant: Poke Express by Handa-Ya
Location: 316 E 2nd St. Los Angeles, CA 90012. Little Tokyo, Downtown. (213) 628-3665
Date: September 21, 2016
Rating: Sloppy but cheap
This is actually my first visit to a full on Poke place — sure I’ve had poke in Hawaii, and in all sorts of other specific occasions, but not at one of this new crop of Poke exclusive places.
Poke Express by Hando-Ya (not the car) is located right near Sushi Gen and the like in Little Tokyo.
Typical looking QSR (Quick Serve Restaurant) — much like a Subway.
The format is actually a lot like a dessert bar or snow place like Salju.
You basically pick a base (rice, salad, noodles) and then they dump on it a selection of toppings and proteins of your choice. These are the proteins (tuna, salmon etc).
And more toppings — slightly confusingly divided into different categories. However, for your base price you get a ton of them. A few like crab are extra. Plus there are sauces.
Then a self serve toppings bar with dried onion, garlic, sesame seed etc.
Wasabi and ginger (looking non-too-fresh) and the omnipresent siracha and “spicy mayo”.
And a separate one.
These things are cheap, maybe $11-13 bucks typically before tax. How do they taste? Hmmm. Disorganized and sloppy. Not bad, but nothing went together. First off the rice isn’t great sushi rice — which is delicious by itself. This was pretty loose. Then nothing had too much flavor except for the tangy dressing and the spicy mayo. It would take great care and skill to construct a “harmonious” blend. Instead I’m sure more people end up with a works type approach like we did. Didn’t really taste like much.
Works much better for Salju or Frozen Yogurt.