Downtown Monterey restaurant features flavor, style

The Poke Lab, newly introduced to Alvarado Street, has begun to take downtown Monterey by storm with its low-key environment and revolutionary method of sushi-style bowls, generating a large amount of business despite its small size.

The unique nature of the restaurant begins with the style of the food itself, as The Poke Lab’s menu features four signature bowls with specific ingredients, including the Poke Lab Bowl, Citrus Salmon Bowl, Vegetarian Bowl and Market Bowl, which features several local ingredients.

Customers also have the option of hand-picking ingredients to make a custom bowl, first selecting a base of white rice, brown rice or salad mix. The customer then may add substance items such as mushrooms or shrimp and toppings such as green onions, edamame or ginger, finishing off with a choice of sauce.

At first glance, the pricing appears higher than an average lunch or dinner, with each signature bowl priced at $11.00 and three scoops of a custom-made bowl set at a price of $9.99, subject to increase with the addition of particular items, such as avocado.

Since its opening in January, The Poke Lab has held widespread appeal, as indicated by the numerous customers who eagerly crowd inside. (2)
However, the food is well worth the price. Not only is it filled with numerous flavors, but each bowl also incorporates large portions which encompass hearty servings of healthy ingredients.

Every detail about each bowl is taken into consideration, evident by the fact that the bowls are carefully accentuated, not saturated, with sauce, and the ingredients taste exquisitely fresh.

Upon my first visit, I tried the Vegetarian Bowl, which I found to be an extraordinary demonstration of delectable flavor and raw ingredients, surprisingly only enhancing the flavorful delight of the meal.

The restaurant’s environment adds considerably to its appeal, from the modernist accents and color scheme to the clever design of the store’s logo, made to resemble elements of the periodic table. Black and white are used effectively to capture a modern image, and the lack of wall decorations adds to the simple elegance of the restaurant.

The service is impeccable and extremely fast, making The Poke Lab an easy place for a quick and high-quality on-the-go meal. The employees are professional, efficient and diligent, filling orders in just a couple of minutes.

The restaurant also offers a variety of seating, including a window bar which overlooks the bustle of Alvarado Street. Overall, it adds a certain kind of popularity and chic character to the much-beloved downtown Monterey area.
– Melissa Pavloff