Mamasan House of Poké, Dallas’ newest poké shop, opened at 2818 N. Fitzhugh Avenue on June 27.
The sprawling, light-stringed, fan-loaded patio is just as large as the boxy interior—a layout that makes sense when one learns the space was previously a drive-through Chase bank. The design of the fast-casual restaurant is brought to us by the Plan B Group, the same folks behind Whiskey Cake, Velvet Taco, and East Hampton Sandwich Co.
Enter by hopping across the stepping stones inlaid in the gravelly patio to the front door. You’ll find a menu that aims to check as many boxes as possible: it uses local ingredients, it nods to traditional poké practices with simple, fixed seafood bowls (no build-your-own here—Mamasan asks you to trust); and there’s poké-by-the-pound options, which are quite common in Hawaii.
Fancy your protein a little more well-done? There are options for meat-lovers and vegetarians alike, including chicken, pork, beef, and veggie.
After being faced with the decision to bowl or roll (a sushi burrito) our protein at the walk-up register, we placed an order. I sat down and sipped on an iced tea. I selected spring cherry from a trendy line-up of teas, including Hawaiian mango and Jasmine green. After a swig or two, I nostalgically realized that it reminded me of the lightly sweet dregs of a melted snow cone.
The service was fast. Our starters and bowls arrived within minutes. The presentation was nice, some better than others. The flavors were good, some better than others.
Allow me to explain.
The ahi tuna bowl, a poké staple, was pleasant. I enjoyed the sprinkling of quinoa and infusion of black sesame ginger dressing on the brown rice, but the plain tuna and pale daikon topping had me eying the more colorful, flavorful yam and eggplant bowl across the table. I felt similarly unenthused about our shared tempura green beans, but slightly more interested in the shishito peppers. They were coated in a decent shichimi sauce.
The ahi tuna poké nachos stole the show. Vibrant and balanced, a helping of diced ahi tuna and avocado, colorful watermelon radish, and fresh cilantro tumbled over a bed of crunchy wonton chips. The vision was complete following a few drizzles of spicy mayo and green onion cilantro pesto..
As we left, I felt that I could be pretty easily convinced to return to Mamasan. The place has good heart and a fun energy, even if they have some tweaking to do in their first couple of weeks. Next time though, you will catch me on the patio with an order of nachos all to myself to accompany my snow-coney iced tea.