December 31, 1969
Laguna Beach restaurants have embraced a centuries-old Hawaiian-style Seafood tradition
By Chery Pruett
Chef Craig Connole believes poke’s continued popularity can be linked to its unparalleled freshness and appeal in seaside locales like Laguna Beach. Poke claimed a spot on K’ys Bistro Bar’s menu more than 12 years ago. “It’s become a mainstream item,” Connole says. “It’s not just Hawaiian item.” According to the chef, southern California eateries devoted solely to poke have been “popping up everywhere in the last two years,” reflecting rapidly growing trend. The wild Hawaiian ahi poke the dish is available both as a lunch item at the Rooftop Lounge and on the dinner menu at K’ya. The dish is a combination of sweetness and spice with wasabi-infused tobiko, or roe, and furikake, a Japanese dry seasoning mixture, served in a bowl with wonton chips. “ People love the flavoe and texture,” Connole says. Oftentimes, sauces are a big part of Poke’s appeal, but he says that some iteration include a lot of high-fat mayo, which may negate the dish’s healthiness. As Such, Connole keeps his poke plates simply, light and refreshing.