Poke bowls have taken Ann Arbor by storm. If you have never tried this native Hawaiian dish comprised of cubed fish, vegetables, seasonings, and dressing over rice, the new Wild Poké, located in downtown Ann Arbor, is a solid place to start.
Its fast-casual style makes it easy to customize your meal. First choose whether you want a bowl or a wrap. Next, pick your base, white or brown rice, spring greens, power greens, rice vermicelli, sushi rice, or none. Then you have your choice of one, two, or three proteins, which include tuna (the traditional poke choice), spicy tuna, salmon, shrimp, octopus, house beef bulgogi, tofu, and marinated shiitake mushrooms. Last, select your toppings and sauce. (Gluten free protein and sauce options are available, just ask.)
If that’s a bit intimidating, try the Poké Our Way, a menu of preset bowl combinations. I went for the California Bowl, a deconstructed California sushi roll in a bowl. I’m a big sushi fan, so I loved this bowl. My husband couldn’t resist giving the Hangover Bowl a try, comprised of vermicelli, beef bulgogi, cucumber, corn, sushi-style egg, onion chips, and teriyaki sauce. We don’t know where the hangover name came from, but this bowl combo was delicious! Especially the bulgogi.
Our little party also ordered a bulgogi burrito and a kimbop roll, sushi made with beef bulgogi, carrots, cucumber, onion chips, and sesame seeds. You can also order bulgogi on the Wild Nachos made with wonton chips rather than tortillas, in the Bulgogi Bao Sliders, and the traditional Korean dish Bibimbop. (There is an obvious Korean slant to the menu. I am not complaining.)
Other menu items include edamame, kimchi, miso ramen, fishcake soup, summer rolls, and five kinds of sushi. For your beverage, try the boba tea, loose leaf hot tea, a fruit smoothie, a can of Shikhye Rice Punch, Crunch Crunch Pear Drink, Coco Grape Drink, Paldo Aloe Drink, or, if you must, another bottled or canned beverage you could get anywhere. (But come on! It’s called Crunch Crunch Pear! How can you say no?) There are also bags of Kasugai Japanese Gummy Candies in several flavors (I picked melon), and you can buy all-natural locally-made dog treats for your dog! This menu could keep me busy for weeks.
Wild Poké is available on Grubhub, so in addition to eating in the comfortable and efficient dining room, you can order ahead of time and pick up or have it delivered. With the midday lunch specials, Wild Poké is a very welcome addition to the Ann Arbor food scene.
Wild Poké is located at 413 East Huron Street Suite C in downtown Ann Arbor. The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Delivery ends one hour before close. For more information visit their website eatwildpoke.com, call 734-780-7171, or email email@example.com.
I had been reading about the new farm to table restaurant Fresh Forage coming to Ann Arbor’s far west side since before it opened. The top of their website says “Farm to table, fast!” and they are not kidding. This friendly fast casual was not what I expected – in the best way possible.
Usually farm to table restaurants come with a certain level of sleek, modern style and a hefty price tag. So I was pleasantly surprised to walk into the brightly colored fun and funky restaurant that Fresh Forage turned out to be. Behind the prep counter could be seen trays of green onions growing. It doesn’t get fresher than that!
Intrigued by the self-ordering terminals, which I had never seen before, I decided to order with one of them. Since my husband and I were the only ones in line, I was able to take my time, flipping through the many options to build my own bowl, starting with two of my favorite things, white rice and teriyaki chicken. My husband chose the signature Pork Noodle Bowl with a side of salted sweet potato chips and a coffee.
We also got a side of the garlic and herb sweet potato chips and, because they initially forgot to give them to us, we got a complimentary cinnamon and sugar sweet potato chips, resulting in a surprise sweet potato chips taste test. I liked the cinnamon and sugar chips best while my husband preferred the garlic and herb. The salted chips are a solid choice, too.
I performed another taste test on the soda fountain, only one of several beverage options. The brand is Puck’s and the sweetener is pure cane sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup. The cherry was my favorite, but they were all delicious. Other drink options include kombucha, smoothies, coffee, tea, and many types of milk.
Another fun thing I experimented with were the five fresh sauces: vegan sesame ginger dressing, vegan Fresh Forage sambal (very spicy), vegan gluten free ponzu, Sriracha aioli, and sweet mustard aioli (which I am convinced can be put on anything). The different sauces each add a distinct new flavor to the already flavorful bowls. Go ahead and play.
Rice pudding (marked vegan or dairy), vegan chocolate mousse, and vegan caramel mousse made up the dessert menu. I quite enjoyed the vegan caramel mousse. I even dipped the cinnamon and sugar sweet potato chips in it, making a sweet and crunchy dessert.
Fresh Forage offers both pick-up and delivery, so if the restaurant is a little out of the way for you, as it is for me, please take advantage of these options and give Fresh Forage a try.
Fresh Forage is located at 5060 Jackson Road in Ann Arbor. Find them online at freshforage.com or @MIFreshForage on social media. Their phone number is 734-887-6655. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the week.
Beloved downtown Ypsilanti Vietnamese restaurant Dalat has made the move to Ann Arbor! First opened in 1990, this is the third location for the restaurant. Owner Lang Bui recently retired, selling the business to her children. The new owner is daughter-in-law Tran Nguyen, and the new manager is Bui’s son Son Le. Dalat has always been family-run making the food authentic, fresh, and delicious.
I don’t know how Ypsi residents feel about losing Dalat to Ann Arbor, but while my husband and I were there dining, a woman gushed to the server about how excited she and her partner were that Dalat had moved to Ann Arbor because it was closer for them and they would be eating at the restaurant a lot more now. I think this speaks to Dalat’s authenticity and quality of their flavorful food.
The interior design is simple, the walls lime green with orange accents, and leaf designs decorate the glass windows. This may sound odd, but it worked for me, and was a preview of the colorful dishes that were in store for us. Health experts often say to “eat the rainbow” for the most nutrition, and I felt like I accomplished that at Dalat. I was also impressed with how quickly our food arrived, and the wait staff was friendly and attentive.
I strongly recommend beginning your meal with an appetizer. The egg rolls were the best egg rolls I have ever eaten. They struck me as unique from other restaurants’ egg rolls because Dalat’s are stuffed with black mushrooms and thin noodles in addition to the more usual shredded cabbage and carrots. They are served with a delicious Vietnamese sweet and sour dipping sauce.
If you are a fan of phở, a Vietnamese soup comprised of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat, then you will be delighted by Dalat’s menu. There are also chicken soups and bowls of udon (a thick wheat flour noodle). Dalat also offers several rice plates and vegetarian entrees. Spicy dishes are indicated with one, two, or three chili peppers, but most of the items have none.
I ordered the Bò kho, a flavorful beef stew with carrots, mushrooms, and onions. My husband opted for the Bún nem nướng chả giò, “rice vermicelli, Vietnamese-style grilled pork meatballs, bean sprouts, cucumber, topped with cilantro and crushed roasted peanuts.” To drink, we both had coffee in the Vietnamese style with sweetened condensed milk, which has the perfect level of sweet for me. (Fun fact: Vietnam is the second largest producer of coffee worldwide. So if you like coffee, don’t hesitate to order!) Curious about the Jackfruit and Toddy Palm In Ice listed on the dessert menu, I ordered one. It arrived as advertised, chunks of fruit in a glass of ice, and it was both refreshing and a satisfying way to end the meal.
Dalat is now located at 2216 South Main Street in Ann Arbor. It is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed on Sunday. For more information visit dalatrestaurantannarbor.com, call 734-487-7600, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.