What We Think About Denver’s Poke-mania

“Hawaiian poke bowls—marinated raw yellowfin tuna, typically served atop white rice—are one of the trendiest foods of the year, garnering some serious press and steadily infiltrating cities across the U.S. Here in Denver, poke (pronounced poh-kay) is definitely having a moment.

The poke boom can likely be attributed to the fact that it’s an ideal fast-casual food: quick, portable, healthy-ish. But we can’t help but wonder just how sustainable this trend is. Yellowfin (a.k.a. ahi) tuna is the protein of choice when it comes to poke, a top-of-the-food-chain species that’s been rampantly overfished to alarming levels. While the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch does list a few methods for responsibly sourced yellowfin, these options are hard-to-come-by and often expensive. Then there’s the environmental impact of shipping such a decidedly non-local ingredient all the way to landlocked Colorado.

For now—and as long as there are still fish in the sea—we imagine that the poke trend won’t be going anywhere. Here’s to hoping that Denver’s poke restaurants can find a way balance consumer demand with environmental responsibility.” 5280 MAGAZINE

Andrew Tovar-Castillo