When it opened in mid-September, FreshFin Poké became the most up-to-date Madison’s 5 devoted poke restaurants. It’s additionally the handiest one within the institution that’s a part of a chain, albeit a small one primarily based in Milwaukee.
Andrew Foster and Nate Arkush have 4 places, now not counting a FreshFin outlet at the brand new Milwaukee Bucks area operated with the aid of a 3rd celebration.
The Madison restaurant is in the James Building, where Gorham Street becomes University Avenue near the UW-Madison campus, and during three current lunch visits, commercial enterprise has been mild. That meant the meals became organized quickly and brought to our table very quickly.
FreshFin merits a few love because not most effective does it do wonderful matters with poke, it is got a present-day, inviting appearance. The area has an uncommon shape when you consider that it’s carved out of the front of a curved building. The manner it’s set up makes for dining areas on each aspect of the counter, wherein customers can select among 9 signature bowls or build their own Hawaiian-fashion rice and salad food.
Surprisingly, the best of these house bowls contain raw fish.
“With the shrimp, the bird, and the pork, it is a catering to a much broader target market,” Foster stated. “We have a big patron base that is available in and desires our chook and vegan options and everything else.”
For me, poke is set raw salmon and/or tuna, and the two specialty bowls featuring every had been super. The Mango Tango ($10.95 for a normal, $14. Ninety-five for a large) had chunks of clean salmon, tiny cubes of mango, ripe avocado, cilantro, and a Thai chili-ginger sauce. The Spicy Tuna ($nine.Ninety-five/ $13.Ninety-five) became made with ahi tuna, thinly-sliced jalapeno, cucumber, and sriracha aioli.
Both bowls had edamame and had been completed with candy shoyu (Japanese-style soy sauce). Crispy onion flakes introduced essential texture to each. However, I’d as soon leave off the intense red tobiko (fish eggs).
Customers pick a base of white rice, brown rice, or blended vegetables. I continually ask for 1/2 rice and half of the lettuce.
For an extra buck, try “kohlrabi noodles” as a base. I had it with another signature bowl, curry coconut shrimp ($9.95/$thirteen.95), and it changed into best — crunchy, healthful tasting, and a perfect vehicle for the curry sauce. It needs to be called “shredded kohlrabi,” even though because the noodle is a bit of a misnomer.
Foster stated it’s a fair criticism; however, they spiralize the vegetable in-house, and once they get in larger kohlrabi, the shreds are more noodle-sized.
The shrimp changed into perfectly cooked and reduced into chew-sized chunks. The curry aioli had a splendid kick, and the opposite factors — small mango cubes, cilantro, shredded carrots, toasted coconut, and crispy onion flakes — blended inside the pleasant possible way.
The only underwhelming bowl turned into the Kailani ($10. Ninety-five/ $14.95). Unfortunately, just like the opposite bowls, the mix of substances failed to produce an equal winning mixture. It had two proteins, chicken and shrimp, and even though the fowl turned into cooked “sous-vide” (in an air-tight box in a water bathtub) to make it appear fancy, it tasted bland, like it hadn’t been marinated.
The bowl had a bunch of different ingredients and both cilantro lime sauce and sriracha aioli. Unfortunately, too horrific, the chook failed to benefit sufficiently from the sauces.
FreshFin gives three facets, consisting of a truffle crab salad ($1. Ninety-five/$three.95) with minced mock crab and a restrained quantity of mayonnaise, and a wellknown seaweed salad ($1.Forty five/$2.Ninety-five).
The acai cup ($three. Ninety-five) for dessert is a herbal fit with poke bowls. Only the dried cherries failed to play nicely with the acai-flavored yogurt, pineapple, and coconut.
The restaurant smartly shares cans of Forage Kitchen’s first-rate kombucha. However, it is $four.Ninety-five, wherein at Forage on State Street, the fermented tea beverage sells for $3.25. FreshFin has 12-ounce bloodless-pressed juices bottled for it, also $4.95. The Watermelon Breeze might have appealed to me extra if it didn’t also have pineapple and lime juice jumbled in.
FreshFin’s atmosphere is appealing, particularly with its gray and purple upholstered fish banquettes and fish cutouts suspended from the high-quality tall ceilings. A lot of care and cost went into outfitting the distance.