Bye Poke

East Dallas restaurant closure raises red flag regarding poke trend

East Dallas restaurant closure raises red flag regarding poke trend

Mamasan House of Poke
Is it time to stick a fork in poke? Photo courtesy of Mamasan

An East Dallas poke restaurant that seemed to have the right DNA has closed, raising serious questions about the Hawaiian poke trend: Mamasan Poke, one of the many poke restaurants to have opened in Dallas-Fort Worth in the past two years, has closed.

Mamasan had a short and not all that bright life, open for a mere five months.

Calls made to owners Royce Ring and Alex Urranaga went unanswered. But a representative from the company confirmed that the restaurant's final day was November 30. The restaurant offered 30 percent discounts on all food that day.

Mamasan opened rather quietly on June 27, in a former bank building at 2818 N. Fitzhugh Ave., a few blocks east of US-75, and an area that is undergoing a major transformation.

Mamasan's space was nicely designed, and the neighborhood is definitely on the upswing with new residential buildings, a new Starbucks, and restaurant openings such LDU Coffee and El Bolero.

The menu combined poke — the super-trendy raw fish dish from Hawaii — with bowls and burrito-style "sushirrito" sushi rolls centered around items like shrimp tempura and Japanese short rib.

A poke place in that location would seem like a slam-dunk, especially given the resumes of Ring, an ex-Carlson Restaurants VP, and Urrunaga, whose company Plan B has had a hand in the creation and design of concepts such as Bolsa and the restaurants at the Statler Dallas hotel to Legacy Hall.

So has Plan B lost its mojo, or has poke peaked?

The poke trend has been going in Dallas for about two years, with dozens of poke restaurants opening or in the works, beginning in 2016 with Pok the Raw Bar in the West Village.

Poke restaurants that have opened since include Go Fish Poke in Irving, California-based LemonShark Poke in Irving, Poké Bop, with two locations on Lemmon Avenue and in the former Zuzu space at Mockingbird and Abrams, Poke O at Mockingbird Station, Malibu Poke in Turtle Creek Village from the owners of TJ's Seafood, Poke Sushi Roll at Greenville Avenue and Mockingbird Lane, Mola Mola Poke at Inwood Village, California-based Low-Key Poke Joint in Addison, New York-based Pokeworks opening two DFW locations, Purple Tako in The Colony, and still more in the works such as Poke GoGo in Uptown, I mean, who in their right mind.

So much poke.

If there's anything happening in raw fish right now, it seems to be hand rolls, the loosely-rolled sushi concoction, with openings such as Namo in the West Village, Sushi de Handroll at The Hill in North Dallas, and Nori in Deep Ellum. Bye poke, hello hand rolls.