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Boulevard Bites: 8oz Poke floats above the rest with dynamic flavors, high-quality fish

West Hollywood’s 8oz Poke restaurant offers a choice between two, three or four scoops of fish. Once added to a bed of rice, the fish is paired with two sides and unlimited toppings and sauces. (Lindsay Weinberg/Daily Bruin senior staff)

8oz Poke 8871 Santa Monica Blvd West Hollywood, CA 90069

By Gail Acosta

Feb. 7, 2017 12:00 a.m.

Finding a delicious restaurant in Los Angeles can be difficult among the city’s thousands of dining options. To help readers narrow down their search, the Daily Bruin will review restaurants located along main streets near UCLA each week.

My dad and I are poke enthusiasts – “poke connoisseurs,” as I jokingly like to call our expertise.

For us, no week would be complete without a poke bowl. The smooth taste of raw tuna, the saltiness of seaweed salad and the overall lightness of the meal is strangely addicting.

The poke trend is flourishing in Southern California; however, many poke restaurants serve low-quality fish and ingredients.

Options for excellent poke in Westwood are limited. Poke Me suffices when one is in need for a decent poke fix. Poke Bar, on the other hand, just barely passes the freshness and quality level that poke should have.

Knock-your-socks-off poke bowls can be found at West Hollywood’s 8oz Poke. The poke shop, which also serves ramen, can be reached in 30 minutes during rush hour from UCLA.

[More Boulevard Bites: Inconsistent quality eclipses flavors of Cake and Art]

Smooth in texture and coated in flavorful sauces, the fish alone is worth a trip to the eatery, which sits hidden among the bars and restaurants of the lively neighborhood.

The restaurant offers standard fish options including tuna, salmon, yellowtail, albacore and octopus. A small build-your-own poke bowl, which comes with two scoops of fish, costs $9.95

Housed in cardboard containers, each bowl comes with: two sides, like seaweed salad and crabmeat; unlimited toppings, like cilantro, pineapples and green onions; and unlimited sauces, like yuzu and spicy mayo.

The verdict on 8oz Poke? Expect empty bowls and satisfied stomachs at the end of your meal.

How does it compare to Poke Me and Poke Bar? It puts both shops to shame.

The most important aspect of poke is the absence of an unpleasant fishy aftertaste, which many poke restaurants, including Poke Me and Poke Bar, suffer from. At 8oz Poke, bites of tuna, spicy tuna and albacore only left a barely-there fishy aftertaste. Each dynamic bite is instead packed with the flavor of the sauces, the texture of the toppings and delicious fish.

The fish was cut into bite-sized cubes – not too big and not too small – and the texture was delightfully smooth and even. Each spoonful of rice, fish and toppings exploded from the smoky and creamy – but not heavy – fusion of sauce flavors.

The star of the dish was the seasoned albacore. The fish added an extra peppery and rich note, contrasting with the clean flavors of the tuna and the spiciness of the spicy tuna.

[More Boulevard Bites: Tacos Tu Madre’s bland tacos fall short]

The letdown is the dismal size of the seaweed salad. Since the bowl only comes with two sides, the off-puttingly small serving only lasts a few bites.

In addition, the cardboard box also isn’t the ideal packaging for poke, as the rice sticks to the bottom of the container.

The lack of restrooms also poses an inconvenience. The nearest restroom is located next door in Zpizza

Nevertheless, the quality of fish and dynamic flavors of 8oz Poke overshadows its blemishes. With its high-quality fish, the shop gets the fundamentals of poke right.

Shelling out extra cash for a Lyft to WeHo might encourage students to settle for Poke Me instead. But for “poke connoisseurs,” 8oz Poke is well worth a visit.

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Gail Acosta
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