No. 97, Hawaiian Ahi Poke at California Fish Grill

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Edwin Goei

Hey, kids: guess what time is it? It's time to restart that Long March known as 100 Favorite Dishes (INSERT YEAR). YEAH!!!

Hey, don't ding us for listicles: Weekly DataLab studies show ustedes love this gimmick, launched in honor of our coming Best Of issue. Besides, it is rather fun to do this for us Forkers--an opportunity to highlight dishes from restaurants we'll never full review, or secrets from old standbys. Anyhoo, let the march continue..
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The Hawaiian ahi poke at California Fish Grill seems to be a seasonal item, part of the specials list, but I put it on this list so that perhaps they can offer it all the time. It contains dice-sized cubes of raw tuna suffused with just a touch of soy, textured with onion in micro-granules, plus some scallions and a not-so-secret ingredient: a hit of chili paste.


Before I ordered my last serving, I wondered what the guy in the back was doing with an industrial-sized container of Huy Fong Foods' popular Sambal Oelek. But upon tasting the poke, I immediately knew it was for what I was eating. There were traces of the chili seeds in the dish, the quiet murmur of its spiciness adding a distinctly Asian accent and a briskness.

Looking like a seaborne pico de gallo, the concoction turns out to be spicier than California Fish Grill's actual salsa and the perfect thing to scoop up chilled with fryer-hot tortilla chips.

The list so far:

98. Takoyaki at Takoyaki Tanota
99. Fiesta Noodles at Jollibee
100. Chilaquiles Verdes Con Huevos Estrellados at La Tablita California

Click here to view our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2010!
Click here to view our 100 Favorite Dishes of 2011!

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Location Info

California Fish Grill

3988 Barranca Parkway, Irvine, CA

Category: Restaurant


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