What? Another Poke place in Orange County? YES! But J Fish isn’t another cookie cutter, assembly line, build your own bowl kind of poke place. You actually order your food at the cashier, and they bring your creation to you. Finally, a poke place that waits on you.
Located off Newport Avenue and the 5 freeway, across from a Yogurtland is this tiny little Poke and Sushi joint. I came here specifically for Poke.
They have 2 different kind of Poke bowls:
1 ) a Custom Made bowl in Medium (4 oz) or Large (6oz). It’s similar to the assembly line poke places, only you tell them and they make it and they bring it to you.
– Pick your base, which is sushi prepared rice. Not plain rice, but sushi style. Or get a salad, or get 1/2 and 1/2
– Pick up to 3 fish, and they also have Eel, Salmon Belly and Yellowtail Belly for 50c more.
– Pick your sauce.
All poke bowls come with crab mix, cucumber (literally slices of the fruit, not pickled), avocado, 3 different types of seaweed (ogo, salad, nori) 2 different types of radish (daikon and pickled), madsago (smelt eggs), garlic chips, sesame seeds, scallions, red onions, and ginger. Wasabi on request.
2) They offer a Signature Poke bowl, served only in the large size for $12. You get more fish, rice and they also add spicy tuna and octopus salad.
There’s 3 Signature bowls:
– Classic Hawaiian (Tuna, Salmon or both)
– Spicy Salmon
– Albacore Crispy (seared)
All of the above comes with their Jfish toppings like the custom bowls.
What makes this place different is the presentation. Unlike the Build Your Own, where the kids slop the food and fish into your bowl, JFish builds a beautiful, restaurant quality bowl for you to visually enjoy before eating it. The food is so pretty. That alone made this a 5-star review.
Portion wise, the medium filled me up. The bowl is shallow, so I thought it wasn’t going to be enough, but the fish portion was adequate, and the fish was cut in large cubes. The food wasn’t overly marinated in sauce, but just enough to coat it. The owner said the star of the show is the fish, and he did not want to take away from the poke.
This place opened up a few weeks ago, and they’re still offering a “soft opening” menu. In addition to Poke, they offer sushi and they offered BOGO rolls. Until August 27 (unless they extend it) the menu is Buy One sushi roll, and get a Basic roll for 1/2 off. It’s still a good deal if you wish to try their food, and not pay full price.
What I especially liked about this place is they offer sushi rice, not plain white or brown rice. The rice had just the hint of the japanese vinegar, which provided flavor by itself. I didn’t need to drown the rice in any sauce.
We checked into Instagram and Facebook and got our drinks for free. If you check in on Yelp, you can get a drink and a side soup for free (with purchase of Signature bowl), saving you a few bucks. Dinner for 2 came to under $20, and I threw in a few bucks in the “Pokemon” tip jar under Team Mystic.