Anything but low-key: The Low-key Poke Joint
The Low-key Poke Joint is a classy, urban cafe that mixes creativity and comfort with their Hawaiian poke bowls. Located within a cluster of small shops in Westminster, Low-key Poke Joint’s featured specialties include poke bowls and homemade sushi burritos wrapped with hot cheeto crumbs. Despite being a small cafe, the compact interior provides a comforting and attractive setting to its customers.
When I entered, I was greeted with the naturally sweet aroma of freshly cooked rice and seaweed. The cafe space consists mainly of black wooden chairs and tables that lead to the register in the back. Grayscale colors make up most of the floor space while colorful calligraphy stickers occupy the walls, making the setting look like a modern art gallery. The handwritten menu on the back wall was hung on a large chalkboard, lit by the dim but charming retro light bulbs that provided a warm ambience. While I was waiting in line to place an order, I enjoyed the chill, indie jazz that played in the background, which added to the classy atmosphere of the cafe. Together, the simple yet chic colors and decorations provide a cozy yet modern feeling that is perfect for friend hangouts.
The prices of the food were overall higher than the average poke shop, but the rich quality of the fish makes up for the price. The restaurant offers two bowl sizes: regular and large. The regular includes three choices of protein from a variety of fish with a choice of rice base while the large includes four with a price difference of only two dollars. However, considering the quality, presentation and freshness of the poke, both were worth its price. I ordered two items: a regular bootea rice bowl with salmon, tuna and crabmeat topped with Korean seaweed and hot cheeto crumbs and a hot cheeto-wrapped poke burrito with salmon, tuna and spicy tuna.
The regular-sized poke bowl came with a generous amount of raw fish, toppings and bootea rice. Their specialty bootea rice was cooked perfectly, and had a slight green tea aftertaste. On the other hand, the fish had a very silky and fatty texture that made it rich and fulfilling. Although these two main components were very different in texture, the thickness of the fish balanced perfectly with the lightness of the rice, making each bite seem very balanced and delicate. The main feature of the bowl had to be the hot cheeto crumbs sprinkled on top which added a slight spicy kick to the bowl and provided a crunchy component that contrasted with the soft fish and rice.
The hot cheeto wrapped poke burrito was presented in two halves, revealing the colorful and eye-catching variety of fish. The overall presentation of the sushi burrito was very satisfying.
I would recommend this restaurant to people who want to experience a unique twist to poke bowls. Each item on the menu was crafted to perfection in taste and presentation, making each item amazing quality considering its low price. The Low-key Poke Joint’s specialty rice and exclusive toppings makes it stand out from the standard poke restaurant. Though the popularity of the restaurant contradicts its very name, the busy ambiance is just quiet enough for any friendly gathering.
Written by Annie Li
Photos by Annie Li