Mr. Poke’s big, delicious lunches

The freshness of these bowls gives them a perfect score.

  • Name + address: Mr. Poke, 62 Barrette St.

  • Type of food: Hawaiian 

  • Appetizers: $7-$10

  • Mains: $18-$24

  • Diet: Meat, seafood, vegetarian

  • Wheelchair accessibility: No

  • Licensed: No


Mike Jang (aka Mr. Poke) has seen a bit of the world. Originally from South Korea where he worked as a sous chef, he found he wanted to travel and with his other talent as a film animator, made his way to Canada.

In Vancouver he worked as both a sushi chef and at an animation studio before being called to help his mother with her shop in Edmonton. He then found himself back in Korea where he worked on two films. 

Then it was on to Montreal for nine years where he continued to work on shows and films such as: Stranger Things, Top Gun: Maverick, Iron Man 2 and the last Thor movie.

He and his wife chose to move to Ottawa for the purpose of raising their children. He is a man content. I asked him about this change of pace and he admitted, “There may not be a lot of animation work in Ottawa but it doesn’t matter. I could be doing anything as long as I’m providing for my family.”

Tuna and salmon bowl. Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout

I asked him about why he opened a Poke shop: “I always felt I was a good cook and with my background it was a natural choice. I was looking for a place and then when I found Sung Hae, it made sense to share the space.”

While I’ve not tried the gyoza or tempura appetizers, I did take away a large tuna/salmon poke bowl. It was generous enough to be a complete meal for two at dinner. 

When something is so transparently important as the ingredients in a poke bowl, freshness is of paramount importance. Mike hits a perfect score with his exacting standards.

The rice foundation was perfectly done with each grain showing its springy texture and none of it clumped together. 

The fish was fresh and clean-tasting with delightful sauces coming together harmoniously for the perfect umami assist to the fish.

The colourful bowl was loaded with red cabbage, avocado, radish, crispy onions, pickled daikon, pineapple, edamame and so much more. 

That 62 Barrette St. houses two terrific artisanal food businesses makes it easy for me. I’ve always enjoyed this type of food and you’ll see me there regularly as long as they choose to stay.

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