How to Be Hawaiian in Chicago: FireFin Poké

A restaurant review for FireFin Poke by Leah Nolan of the Chicago Chic.

IHawaii’s favorite food is having a moment, and if you haven’t poked around a poké (pronounced POK-KEH) menu yet it’s only a matter of time. This delicious raw fish salad, typically served with ahi tuna, can be eaten in a variety of ways. So why exactly is this new food trend so popular? It’s healthy, bursting with flavor and fresh. I can’t emphasize the word “fresh” enough — if it’s not fresh, do not eat it. And with national expansion on the horizon, FireFin Poké is a one-stop shop for health conscious, natural ingredients that are sourced in a responsible way.

The Base

At this fast-casual Loop space, you have the option to order off of the FireFin Creations menu, which includes over ten options, or you can customize your own bowl, all of which are gluten, sugar, salt and dairy free. The first step is selecting a base. My personal favorite, the purple rice (also known as black rice) is packed with antioxidants. It has a nutty flavor that adds a palatable taste to its accompaniments. The next option, the organic mixed greens, is a bright combination of baby kale, greens and red cabbage. Sourced from local farmers, you can feel good about eating these aromatic veggies. Lastly, and maybe most impressively, are the gluten-free noodles. Made from sweet potatoes and marinated in Ono sauce, I promise, you won’t miss the flour.

The Protein

Part owner and chef, Rodelio Aglibot (aka the Food Buddha) is from the Phillipines and grew up in Hawaii. His reverence for his heritage is seen throughout the menu, but is perhaps most noticeable in the fish. With a deep respect for each ingredient the proteins are treated with the utmost care. All fish is flown in fresh from Hawaii and everything is line caught. Options include ahi tuna, salmon, Hawaiian albacore, snow crab, chicken and tofu.

A restaurant review for FireFin Poke by Leah Nolan of the Chicago Chic.

Sauce, Toppings & Garnishes

Following the pursuit of freshness, all sauces at FireFin are made from scratch everyday, in-house. From traditional Ono sauce to a natural, sustainable sweet spicy honey mayo, there is a condiment to appease every palate. With the option to select up to four toppings from an eclectic list (edamame, pineapple, pickled jalapeños, cucumber, sweet onions, red cabbage, tomato and carrot) and unlimited garnishes, the flavor combinations are unparalleled. For a little extra you can also add specialty toppings like mangos, avocados, tobiko and berries.

Notable Bowls

The Warrior

You’ll almost get a taste of everything on the menu! This mammoth bowl includes each base (purple rice, gluten-free noodles and mixed greens) and packs four proteins, two sauces and seven different toppings and garnishes. Order only when super hungry or sharing.

Tuna on Fire

This classic ahi tuna bowl comes with fire sauce, picked jalapeños, avocado, sweet onions, cucumber and crispy shallots. And while the suggested FireFin base is organic mixed greens, I recommend going off course and opting for the purple rice. It soaks up a bit of the heat from the complexly spicy sauce.

Insider Tip: Order your bowl with one of the agua frescas, they make them in-house everyday.

10 South La Salle Street, Chicago, IL 60603

Featured Photo Credit: Chicago Food Magazine

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