It’s hard to ignore the wave of poke restaurants that invaded Las Vegas over the past few years. Some came and went quickly, but Vegas Poke Co. nailed the concept in a way few can match, launching last year with a fierce dedication to fresh seafood, personalized customer service and recipes based on global influences.
The independently owned and operated fast‐casual restaurant is near the corner of Ft. Apache and Sahara – an intimate space that pops with bright colors of blue and orange with three tables and a dining countertop inside. A large covered patio with additional tables and a centralized fire pit is shared with a neighboring coffee shop, offering plenty of shade and fresh air for al fresco feasting throughout much of the year.
There’s incredible attention to detail in every aspect of the business, which centers around the art of dicing and slicing raw fish. Yet Vegas Poke Co. finds its greatest success in giving up control, and putting it in the hands of the customer. The most popular dish is one that can be anything: a build‐yourown poke bowl. Start with a base (varieties of rice, lettuce or seaweed salad), choose proteins (at least 13 options, including ahi tuna, salmon, tempura shrimp, and grilled chicken) and add as many toppings as you like. Cabbage, onions, corn, tomatoes, cilantro and more are all fair game. Customers are then encouraged to finish off the bowl with something crunchy (like fried onions or wonton strips) and one of more than 20 sauces, each made or mixed in house. Try a bright yuzu miso, salty shoyu or creamy honey sesame aioli. The team recently added a sweet‐and‐savory katsu sauce, tangy Hawaiian barbecue sauce and spicy volcano sauce made with Thai chili paste.
If you don’t want to think about it too hard, signature chef‐designed bowls are available too and can be modified as wraps in seaweed or soy paper. Try the popular Tuna Lover, which combines three types of tuna with a vibrant mix of vegetables, crispy noodles and a spicy ponzu sauce, or the creamy Hawaiian‐inspired Moana, featuring salmon, surimi crab, veggies, ponzu and honey sesame aioli. Warm up your meal with hot ingredients like grilled teriyaki chicken, broiled teriyaki salmon or spicy sriracha shrimp.
Vegas Poke Co. also offers six sushi rolls, sticking with familiar classics like California Rolls, Rainbow Rolls and Spicy Tuna Rolls wrapped in seaweedpaper. A Dragon Roll balances the crunch of tempura shrimp with the creaminess of garlic chili aioli and a sweet touch of unagi (eel) sauce. Bao buns are a great side item with fillings of salmon, chicken and shrimp in
place of traditional pork. Round out a meal further with miso soup, edamame, seaweed salad or wasabi beans. A Hawaiian‐style guacamole is made to order each time with chips on the side.
Vegas Poke Co. is a partnership between Jeff Wyatt (a veteran in the construction supply industry) and Arnaud Reilhac (who came from a family of chefs, worked under Emeril Lagasse in New Orleans at Commander’s Palace and went on to be an executive with Quiznos and other brands on an international level). Together, the two understand the nuts and bolts of business as well as anyone, but their passion for food is based on a love of fresh, quality ingredients. Only sushi‐grade (AAA) seafood is used. Vegetables areprepped up to three times a day while rice is prepared, seasoned, and infused with vinegar up to five times a day.
Through it all, it’s hard to ignore the dedication to value. Customers can order poke by the pound, including spicy ahi tuna and shoyu salmon, for around twenty dollars. Kids eat free on Sundays (a choice of mini sushi rolls or a small grilled chicken bowl) with a $20 purchase by an adult.
Visit Vegas Poke Co. seven days a week at 9091 W. Sahara Avenue. Place a pickup or delivery order by visiting vegaspoke.com or calling 702‐268‐7998. Businesses and large parties are welcome to order full spreads and bento boxes for private catering at homes, offices and special events with vegan options available. Island Inspired Poké in the West Valley
70 March/April 2023
By Rob Kachelriess