I love a good poke bowl.  Luckily, good poke is easy to find on Oahu. Currently, my two go-to’s are Off the Hook Poke Market bowls, and Fort Ruger Market poke bowls. Both offer high-quality, fresh fish, but have very different flavors.

So, at Off the Hook, my favorites are the Japan Deluxe (Miso-Ginger-Shiso) and Shoyu. Their shoyu is quite salty, which I like. In fact, I think it pairs perfectly with their sushi rice. And that says a lot since, before, I didn’t care for shoyu poke too much. But why am I saying this about a review for a different poke spot? For context.

HOW TO CHOOSE

At Fort Ruger Market, poke bowls cost about $13, at least a the time of my last visit. With that, you get your pick of white, brown, or sushi rice, or organic greens with Ruger’s homemade oriental dressing for $1 more. You also get a choice of two different styles of poke and one free topping. Additional toppings are available for $0.50 each. Toppings choices include bubu arare, furikake, kizami nori, and fried garlic.

Fort Ruger Market

MY FAVORITES SO FAR

I haven’t gotten to try a lot of Ruger’s selection, but so far I did try the Fresh Ahi Ruger Special (ogo + onion), Fresh Ahi Local Style (shoyu), and Yuzu Bomb (Yuzu Tobiko + Salt + Geen Onion). Of those three, my favorites so far are, surprise surprise, the Local Style and the Yuzu Bomb.

Fort Ruger Market

Ruger’s shoyu poke has a robust, salty punch like Off the Hook’s, but it’s cut with a slight sweetness too. It’s a very nicely balanced poke, in my opinion.

The Yuzu Bomb, on the other hand, is quite different from anything else available out there. There is a distinct yuzu flavor to the poke, though, overall, it’s a lighter poke. Understandably, yuzu and green onion are the two dominant flavors, but it really lets the fish shine through too.

Fort Ruger Market

My wife loves the Ruger Special since she’s a fan of ogo. If you love ogo, you’ll love this poke, as it has a very ogo-forward flavor. Oh, and we both always get furikake on top, because, why not?

SIDE DISHES

On one occasion, I gave Ruger’s Ahi Pattie a try. I love Tamura’s version, so I thought I’d give Ruger’s a shot. It’s a lighter flavor with a bit of a cilantro hit, which is nice, though I think it can do without the water chestnuts.

Fort Ruger Market

The one side my wife and I really enjoyed is the Yuzu Wakame Salad ($9.95/lb). It tastes like the seaweed salad we all know well, but with a strong yuzu punch. It’s a delicious dish that we both couldn’t get enough of.

Fort Ruger Market

The last side we got was the Pickled Mango ($12.95/lb). This was probably my least favorite, though. I don’t know how to explain it, but I thought the flavor was a little off. Perhaps it’s a tad too sweet? I definitely didn’t like all the mango pit clinging to the pieces, though.

FINAL THOUGHTS

If I had to choose, I couldn’t say which poke I like better.  And, while I know this is a bit of a copout, I’d say that I like both equally.  Heck, I even love their shoyu pokes equally.  They’re both unique, and I do crave both separately.  So, which one I choose really depends on my mood.  And that’s why I’d recommend trying both.  One of these days I’ve got to try Ruger’s cold ginger flavor too so I can compare and contrast that one with Off the Hook’s as well.

Fort Ruger Market
3585 Alohea Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816
Ph: 808-737-4531
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