After successfully launching two restaurants and three food trucks in Washington, chef Sam Choy — who won a James Beard Award for his now-closed Asian fusion restaurant Sam Choy’s Kaloko in Hawaii — has brought his Poke to the Max empire to the Bay Area. The opening celebration for his first California restaurant takes place this weekend in San Bruno.
The festivities include dance performances, live Hawaiian music, and a poke demo from Choy himself, but there will be plenty of reasons to check out Poke to the Max once its normal business hours start on Tuesday, October 16.
The casual spot will specialize in Hawaiian-style poke — meaning, not a build-your-own bowl loaded with edamame, mayo-based sauces, and fake crab — as well as simple Hawaiian lunch plates. There are eight different types of poke available, including a classic version of ahi tuna or salmon with shoyu and sesame oil; octopus with kimchi, cucumbers, and white onions; and spicy salmon with mango. They usually come with rice, mixed greens, and seaweed, or by the pound in true Hawaiian style.
As for other island favorites, expect to see kalua pork, teriyaki short ribs, and a variety of musubis. (The classic Spam musubi is ramped up with egg frittata.) Check out the full menu below.
Starting October 16, Poke to the Max at 629 San Mateo Avenue in San Bruno will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.