As the raw fish salad phenomenon called poke sweeps Seattle, each neighborhood should find itself awash in the delicious Hawaiian staple. That was Ryan Lee's line of reasoning when he soft-opened Coffee Tree and Poke on First Hill late last month, an offshoot of nearby cafe Coffee Tree.
"In this area there isn't much variety of places to eat," Lee told Eater. "And I have been in Japanese restaurant industry for 10 years."
Today is the grand opening of the new spot, which serves Victrola Coffee Roasters. Lee said the new store's menu is exactly the same as the 8th Ave location except that the panini section has been replaced by poke and a rice-based construction called First Hill Tower. ("If you like it spicy ask us for a special hot sauce," a Facebook post suggests.)
Yes, you can still get breakfast sandwiches, but you can also customize a bowl of fish: choose up to three options (tuna, snapper, red snapper, or eel are on the early menu, with prices topping out at $12.99 for three or an extra $2 for eel), and decide if you want them on their own or if you want to supplement them with rice or salad.
Lee said lunch was pretty busy during the restaurant's soft opening but dinner was lacking. "Hopefully neighbors will know that we exist so we can serve them," he said. If the massive popularity of 45th Stop N Shop and Poke Bar is any indication, Seattleites are seeking out new poke as avidly as they're hunting Pokemon, and Coffee Tree and Poke could soon be busier than imagined.
613 9th Ave, (206) 992-3947, Facebook. Open Monday to Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday to Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.