Shishinori: so healthy,
In my quest to find a reasonable facsimile of the Poke I had on the North Shore of Oahu, I travelled to Shishinori. Located on the Cambie corridor near the City Hall skytrain station, this new eatery is minimally furnished with touches of Japanese cuteness, including an anime show that is projected on the back wall.
I was interested in trying their Hawaii Ahi Poke bowl which came with 3 flavour options: Shoyu, Spicy and Wasabi. I went with the shoyu option, up sized my bowl to a meal, paid for my order, was given a number and patiently waited for my meal to come to my table.
Upon its arrival, I was pleasantly surprised by the portion and presentation. It looked appetizing and I had an overwhelming sense of smugness that I made a very healthy food choice today.
The bowl came with a large green salad comprised of spinach and watercress, a poke served on brown rice, and garnishes comprised of fruit and edamame. To complete my meal, I was given a mushroom miso soup and iced green tea in a mason jar.
The miso soup and tea were good but not really noteworthy. The star of the meal was the bowls themselves.
The shoyu Hawaiian Poke looked right with fresh chunks of pink Ahi tuna, seaweed, chopped green onions and sesame seeds. However with the first bite, I knew it was not exactly what I had in Hawaii. The shoyu flavouring tasted more like a teriyaki sauce than just a plain soy sauce. Although salty, it was predominantly sweet, and a bit too much in taste and amount.
I felt Shishinori used this sauce as a way to add flavor to the brown rice and to the bowl in general. The remaining elements of the bowl rely predominantly on their own natural flavours as the salad is minimally dressed and the other elements (mango slice, avocado, edamame etc) are not enhanced with anything.
Despite the disappointing poke, I did enjoy my very healthy meal. I like the inclusion of spicy watercress and the sweet slices of mangos. I felt super good after finishing my meal.
A few weeks later, I felt I needed a food detox and decided to visit Shishinori again. I ordered the Salmon Paradise bowl meal, after the server explained that it was cubes of salmon mixed with seasonal fruit and served with a dressing. All I thought to myself, “Isn’t that a Salmon Poke?!?!”
Indeed it was somewhat like a Salmon Poke, mixed with cubes of apples and avocado, served with a heaping amount of spinach salad, half a soft boiled egg, brown rice, and fruit and edamame garnishes. Once again it looked overwhelmingly good for you, chalk full of vitamins and antioxidants.
Unfortunately that cloying sauce returned in salmon portion of the bowl. Although the rich taste of the salmon, and natural sweet and tart flavour of apple were able to stand up to the teriyaki like sauce and shine a bit.
Alas, my search for Hawaiian Poke must continue. However, despite the sauce, this was not the worst rendition I’ve had. There’s an eatery out there with dish identification issues, as they use an acid in their version which essential makes it a ceviche not a Poke, despite what the menu says.
Essentially the two items I got at Shishinori were giant vibrant salads served with brown rice and a raw protein. In both cases I liked the freshness of the ingredients, how each of the components worked well together and the overall presentation of the dishes. I just wish the staff would switch to a light soy dressing instead of depending on that syrupy sweet sauce.
Perhaps it’s the vision of the rich hues of colour on the plate, the crunchy texture of the veggies, or the fact you probably ate half the daily recommended serving of plant matter in one sitting, I did feel energized, had a bounce in my step, felt very zen and light.
I would definitely return for a healthy meal and since its nearby neighbours are Whole Foods and Lululemon Lab, I think Shishinori will do just fine.