Miko Poké is a bright, modern restaurant that sticks out like a sore thumb in the land of fried cheese and dimly lit bars — but that is not to say Miko Poké isn’t a welcome change.

The tropical chill décor of Miko Poké primes customers for what is to come — healthy, affordable food that until now, was all but foreign here in Madison.

Marissa Haegele/The Badger Herald

Marissa Haegele/The Badger Herald

Marissa Haegele/The Badger Herald

Poké, a traditional raw fish and rice dish, originates in Hawaii and has now made a home on Monroe Street where Bluephies once resided. This sort of sushi-salad will be a shoe-in with sushi lovers, but also anyone who is a fan of food with Asian influence.

The restaurant is set up much like a build-your-own fro-yo bar, and the food is equally as West Coast hip. Colorful fruits and vegetables line shiny trays while employees stand and wait for patrons to point at what fresh ingredient they’d like to add. Miko has the option to create your own bowl or choose a house favorite, combinations they have already planned out for the less decisive.

Marissa Haegele/The Badger Herald

Jason Chan/The Badger Herald

The Hawaiian style is a classic combination of ingredients like ahi tuna and edamame, and is topped with traditional poké sauce along with other house-made sauces. Other less traditional bowls have flavors like coconut curry and teriyaki, all perfectly formulated by their veteran chef, Scott Harrell. 

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The raw fish is high quality and flown in from the best sources, which is obvious after just one bite. Other options like marinated chicken and rock shrimp are an easy substitute for those who are not fans of the uncooked, while vegan and allergy conscious options are available.

Miko Poké emphasizes making everything in-house and only using the freshest ingredients — a key part of poké. The restaurant also offers sides like Hawaiian style chips and seaweed salad, along with Hawaiian shave ice, which can also be made into cocktails once they obtain their liquor license.

As a new restaurant and the only of its kind in the area, patrons should try and avoid going certain lunch and dinner hours, as the restaurant can get backed up. That being said, Miko Poké does a fairly great job of keeping up and making sure the line is moving, working like a well-oiled machine.

Miko Poké is not just another Asian fusion restaurant to put on the back burner until an orange chicken craving hits — it is an authentic Hawaiian restaurant that offers affordable meals that are actually filling. Miko Poké might seem a little out of place here in Wisconsin, but it also could be just the pick-me-up Madisonians need once winter hits and the sun goes into permanent hiding.