Today we were invited down to one of the two Westcoast Poké locations to try their latest feature a bowl: the Dragon Bowl.
For the month of December, Westcoast Poké will be donating $1 from every bowl sold to the United Way BC Flood Relief Program. As well as matching the total donations raised. Given how much reach the devastation of the floods has had, it is so warming and wholesome to see businesses such as this doing what they can. Especially given that we are still amidst the world’s pandemic and the restaurant and hospitality industry has suffered a great toll themselves. So to see small business owners rallying to do what they can, you can’t help but to applaud and do what you can in turn.
So it is fantastic that the Dragon Bowl is absolutely delicious and worth trying. It isn’t poké, but eats like a stand out grilled unagi bowl, one you could order from any reputable Japanese restaurant. Aburi Unagi, Avocado, Togarashi, Sesame seeds, Chopped nori; and their Westcoast Salad side with Spicy crab salad, scallion, cucumber, mango, tempura crunch, maple soy, miso ginger soy sauce.
The fire from the torch caramelized the sauce perfectly and gave the edges of the eel fillet and its skin a nice crisp. This was sticky and salty, with a mild spicy tingle. Its flavour balanced well against the creamy avocado slices and the slight sweetness form the crab and mango. It all ate harmoniously and I would definitely return for another before its limited release runs out. This is something you will try and crave for in the future thereafter.
And since we were there, we had to also try some of their regular menu item bowls. At Westcoast Poké you can also pick and choose from their list of ingredients to make your own perfect combination of fresh seafood, vegetables, and toppings; but I prefer to leave the combinations to the experts and pick from the list of pre-curated bowls.
And the fun part, you can to see it each bowl built before your very eyes starting with either white or brown rice, or a salad as your base. To that your chosen protein is weighed for an even distribution. Choose from 2 types of tuna, 2 types of salmon, or prawn. For those who don’t like seafood there is a chicken option, and tofu is for the vegans. You can go so far as to even choose the flavouring agent for your protein. Sauces and oils to add salt or chilli. Next comes your toppings: pickled or fresh vegetables, sweet fruit or seaweed and crab salads. After, comes your choice of sauce to drizzle over everything. Soy, garlic, coconut curry, ponzu, or sriracha based to name a few. And the final touch is a collection of crispy elements that gets added on like sprinkles. Fried onion or garlic, chopped seaweed, sesame seeds, tempura bits, masago, pea shoots; or even all of the above.
We went with their best selling bowl: the Pacific bowl with Albacore tuna, cilantro, pickled red onion, cucumber, pineapple, crab salad, mango, green coconut curry sauce. It was a much lighter bowl compared to the punches the aburi unagi gave us above. An easy eating starter where you could make out the quality of each ingredient assembled. Even the rice was noticeably perfect. The tuna was evenly salted partnered with tang, sweetness, and spice. A wonderful introduction to the world of poké.
For those who like seafood, but shy away from it being raw, you can look to the Chief bowl featuring Aburi sockeye salmon, togarashi, chilli oil, scallion, kimchi cucumber, edamame, wasabi garlic oil, and maple soy sauce. You definitely get a char from the torched fish, which stood out against the more subtle ingredients that surrounded it. I especially liked the beans which added a filling density to this bowl. And when compared to other poké places, I must say I really appreciate Westcoast’s for their good ratio of rice to ingredients. I didn’t feel like I had to ration the meat to be able to finish the rice under it.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed all of our bowls. Best eaten fresh, but the flavours and textures do hold up after a quick spin in the microwave. We will definitely be back sooner than later, especially to support their charitable efforts.
463 W 8th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Y 3Z5