Food Review: The Battle of the Pokés, Little Rock Addition

By now, I’m sure you have heard that Little Rock went from having 0 poké restaurants a month ago to now having TWO. So, which one should  you try first? Which one will be your go-to? I have visited both restaurants, thoroughly enjoyed both of them, and have tried to compare them here, as matter-of-factly as possible. Here’s the very specific breakdown:

  Poké Hula Ohia Poké
Environment Closer to the Rivermarket (3rd St.), but much smaller. Has two bars you may sit at, so only about 15 seats. Located on 6th St., this is a larger building with many tables and plenty of seating. More appropriate for sit-down meals.
Price There is one bowl size. However, if you create your own, you can get a regular (2 scoops protein) for $9.50 or a large (3 scoops protein) for $11.50.
Also, there are signature bowls that range from $9.50-$12.50
These bowls are about the same size as the medium bowls at Ohia.
There are three bowl sizes here. A small bowl comes with 2 scoops protein for $7, a medium bowl comes with 3 scoops for $8.25, and a large bowl comes with 5 scoops for $12.25.
Hands down, Ohia has a win for pricing here. It is fair to compare the build-your-own at Hula to the medium bowl here. $1.25 cheaper here with one extra scoop of protein.
Base The only option Hula has that Ohia does not is a kale chips base. Similar to Hula, here has white or brown rice, or mixed greens.
Proteins There are 3 types of tuna here: plain, marinated, or spicy. There are 2 types of salmon: plain or spicy. There is also octopus salad, shrimp, chicken, or tofu.
The spicy tuna is my favorite here. Though the shrimp is nice as well. The tuna is so fresh, not fishy, and very flavorful.
There is plain tuna, plain salmon, shrimp, crab, scallops, organic chicken, and organic tofu.
I missed the extra heat from spicy tuna, such as Hula has. However, the shrimp was cooked well and cut in half for better bite sizes, and they did not skimp on the crab!
Mix-Ins The mix-ins are pretty much the same for both of these restaurants. However, here they charge an extra $1 each for avocado, seaweed salad and crab salad. The mix-ins are almost the same here, minus the crab salad. Instead, there is just “crab” to mix in. (Both use imitation crab).  Also, you can mix in mixed greens. Finally, the avocado and seaweed salad mix-ins cost nothing extra!
Sauces Ponzu, Wasabi Creamy, Sweet Sesame Soy, Gochujiang, and Sriracha Spicy Mayo.

The sauces are very similar at both places. However, the wasabi creamy (the only sauce I got) is much more likened to wasabi and spicier than Ohia’s wasabi miso. Also, there is sriracha sauce and soy sauce to add at your bowls on your own. So, making a bowl spicy here is NOT an issue.

Ponzu, Wasabi Miso, Aloha Classic, Gonchu, and Spicy Mayo.
I got to try samples of all the sauces, and ended up using ponzu, aloha classic, and spicy mayo. These together were not very spicy, even after adding wasabi as a topping. I wish there were some sriracha on the tables along with soy sauce to help kick the heat up a bit when necessary.


Toppings The toppings at both places are about the same. The only thing Hula has that Ohia does not is Furikake, a dry Japanese seasoning. The only thing that Ohia has that Hula does not is fried garlic. And it is GOOD.
Sides No sides available, not that you need any! House-made miso soup is available. For now, they will give you a cup for free if you check in on Facebook!
Drinks There is a drink cooler with bottles of sodas and what-not. There is no free water here at the time. So, I had to buy a bottle of water. There are no drinks visible except for some free water- with cucumber and lime! However, I believe there are canned sodas for purchase.
Service Very friendly, helpful staff! They asked for feedback, and made sure everything was exactly the way we wanted it. Even friendlier staff, if possible! We happened to be the only people in there on a Friday night, while when we went to Hula, it was packed for lunch. So, the owners gave us all their attention, let us try all the sauces, and asked for any feedback.


Poké Hula


Ohia Poké 



I am overjoyed to have two such delicious poké options here in Little Rock. I would gladly go to either of them daily. Both are fresh, healthy, and FLAVORFUL!
While I definitely enjoy the cheaper prices at Ohia Poké,  Hula Poké is by no means expensive. Both are very good deals. You get SO much fresh fish (or chicken or tofu) for a great price. Think of a good sushi roll. You will easily pay around $12.50 for 8-10 bites of fresh sushi around here. For this price at either restaurant, you get much more fresh fish and ingredients than you would in that sushi roll. Plus, you can customize it and add as many mix-ins and toppings and sauces you want! Oh, and you can skip the rice and have a low-carb salad/meal instead. One more thing- poké bowls are perfect take-out meals, while sushi just isn’t.  You just can’t lose eating poké!
While the spicy tuna at Hula Poké beats the plain tuna at Ohia Poké, the free water and miso soup at Ohia tips the scales right back to equal.  Plus, unlimited mix-ins and sauces make any protein choice exceptionally flavorful. So, either choice you make, you are going to be happy with your poké.
Now let’s keep these awesome new restaurants open! Poké for lunch, anyone?

Food Review: Zoe’s Kitchen, One of My Favorite Chains

I don’t usually review chain restaurants, because they get enough of that on their own. But I have NEVER had a disappointing meal at Zoe’s Kitchen, in Little Rock. In fact, every time, I am impressed. So, I just have to let you know how good it is.
We’ll skip all the “environment” stuff since it is a chain. Just know it is pretty modern, bright, and clean.
The menu can be found on their site, but it is mostly Mediterranean- style foods, with many healthy options such as salads and power grain bowls and kabobs, etc.
So, what we are gonna do is talk about what I’ve had, and love here.

Hummus Trio

Zoe’s makes their own hummus and pesto, and you get to try them all in this appetizer. Their basil pesto hummus is my favorite, perfectly balanced between pesto and hummus. Their harissa red pepper hummus is also tasty, though not as flavorful as the pesto. Their classic hummus is the least flavorful, but still a delicious version of a typical hummus. I also love that this trio comes with not only cold pita, but grilled pita, and three types of veggies for dipping: green bell peppers, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes.
Though this is VERY filling just for an appetizer…great to share with multiple people.

Mediterranean Lamb Kafta

This is a new menu item, and so far, has been my least favorite dish from here. The lamb and beef meatballs were pretty dense and tasted more like beef than lamb. However, the tzatziki sauce they are plated on is delicious and tastes very fresh. The Moroccan harissa sauce on top is very flavorful and gives a bit of acidity. Overall, it tastes fine, but it hard to eat. I won’t get this again…too many other good things to eat here.

Tomato Bisque Soup


While many chains have a delicious tomato bisque (Panera Bread, La Madeline, for example) this soup is also perfectly creamy and delicious. No complaints here….except I can get good tomato soup in many other places. So, I try to only get this occasionally.

Shrimp Kabobs


These PERFECTLY cooked every time (four times total for me) large shrimp skewers have thick slices of zucchini between them, are perfectly seasoned, and absolutely delicious. I got this my first visit and I have gotten many times since.
It comes with two sides, which we’ll talk about soon.

Vegetable Kabobs


These kabobs come with zucchini, thick-cut mushrooms, red onion, green bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. I hate to sound like a broken record, but these are perfectly seasoned and then perfectly charred. So, you get a great smokey taste without losing the texture of each vegetable.

Harissa Salmon Pita

This stuffed pita comes with harissa-marinated salmon, house-made tzatziki, Moroccan harissa, Mediterranean relish, cabbage, feta, and fresh dill. I am not a salmon fan but I LOVE this pita. It is fresh, vibrant, full of different textures and flavors….and there’s no fishiness here. It is delicious! Though, it only comes with one side. =(


My three go-to sides are:
-Braised White Beans:  These are the best beans around. They have
a surprising rosemary taste, which sets them apart. They are cooked
so slowly, they break down and become more of a soup. Gah, they
are so good!
– Roasted vegetables: These are veggies done right! With broccoli,
mushrooms, carrots, and onions. These veggies, like everything else,
are seasoned liberally, but not too much. Then they are perfectly
charred, making delicious roasted veggies. This is a side to truly enjoy
and feel good about what you’re eating.
– Side Greek Salad:  which is a nice mix of lettuces, cucumber, olives, green bell
peppers, cherry tomatoes, and feta. The only dressing available is their
signature Zoe’s vinaigrette, found on each table. It is light and flavorful.

Overall, this place is healthy and delicious and a great place for a quick meal. Check it out if you haven’t, you won’t be disappointed.