Catch Santa Fe Poke brings the seafood bowl to The City Different

Tiger Leche Salmon with Half-Forbidden Rice and Half-Bamboo Rice at Catch Santa Fe Poké at CHOMP. (Heather Hunter/For the Journal)

Living in a high desert town, many people mistakenly believe that getting fresh seafood is impossible because Santa Fe is a “landlocked” town. But high-end restaurants in New York and Los Angeles — and everywhere in between — carry fresh seafood daily, and planes fly here, too.

Whatever your relationship to seafood, let me tell you about the best catch in town – Catch Santa Fe Poké serving super fresh and super creative poke bowls that highlight just how fresh fish and shrimp can be spectacular – and they have a vegetable option too. Located at 505 Cerrillos in the CHOMP Food Hall (which has yet to capture the full attention of the community as a culinary destination), you’ll find Catch Santa Fe Poké for their summer home through August or until August. until they open their physical location.

Coyote Café Executive Chef Dakota Weiss and her boyfriend and business partner, Rich Becker, are heating up the market with this culinary concept that is exactly what CHOMP needs to drive traffic. And what more Santa Fe can definitely use – fresh seafood. Interestingly, this dynamic duo met while working at another poke restaurant in Venice, California, and together they are launching this concept in City Different.

Bowl of Yuzu Kosho Salmon with Bamboo Rice at Catch Santa Fe Poké at CHOMP. (Heather Hunter/For the Journal)

Poke is a Hawaiian tradition that continues to gain attention as a healthy option. The rice is topped with raw and cubed seafood, different sauces, and additional ingredients to add a splash of color, flavor, and textures that make poke a healthy meal — and the perfect summer food.

On two separate occasions, my dining companions and I met at CHOMP, a venue that offers four different culinary concepts, a craft market, and a bar all under one roof. It was a sweltering 91 degrees the first time I went, and we were greeted by a serious air conditioning system that quickly and gratefully cooled us down. Unfortunately we were not greeted by anyone working behind the bar so we sat for over 10 minutes waiting. This also happened the second time I went there and it was awkward and uncomfortable being in a bar where no one pays attention to you. So if you go to CHOMP, go boldly and go straight up to the bar and place your order.

On my first visit, we went for the mocktails – the Cactus Cooler ($6) and a Monday Maria ($7). I had heard about the Monday Maria from a friend who said “CHOMP has the best Bloody Mary in town”.

On Monday Maria arrived in a highball glass with just enough ice, a wedge of lime on the rim of the glass and a wooden stick pierced with a green olive, pepperoncini pepper and a pickle. The clever combination of a briny olive, pickled bell pepper, and dill pickle paired beautifully with the spicy tomato concoction that felt virtuous enough to consider a single serving of veggies. Chomp’s owner, Ken Joseph, told me he’s been working on the Bloody Mary recipe for a long time. It proves that practice makes perfect as this drink is easy to drink and the addition of a shot of vodka will amp up the weekend brunch experience.

Monday Maria and Cactus Cocktail are some of the non-alcoholic drinks at CHOMP in Santa Fe. (Heather Hunter/For the newspaper)

On my second visit, we ordered cocktails. I had a gin and tonic ($8) and my friend ordered an old fashioned ($10). Both drinks were good, but mine was served in a plastic cup while my companion got a real drink. It was another awkward moment, but hopefully the bar gets together soon and realizes they work in the hospitality industry.

After sipping our drinks, we headed straight to the Catch Santa Fe Poké food stand – the only open food stand. It was the first official week of operation for the Catch Santa Fe Poké team, but they played together and our bowls were ready to go when we finished paying.

All priced at $15, six poke bowls offer something for everyone. If you don’t eat raw seafood, they created City Different’s Camarones for you with cooked shrimp. And if you don’t eat seafood or are vegan, they have The Delicious Imposter, a plant-based tuna bowl made with bamboo, seaweed, and potato starch. For starters, they created the Pokay Tuna bowl. When they open the restaurant in early fall, they plan to expand the menu.

During my visits we have tasted Spicy Tuna, Yuzu Kosho Salmon and Leche de Tigre Salmon and all were spot on. As Weiss says, “These aren’t traditional poke bowls, but are inspired by ‘California, Japan, Hawaii and New Mexico’.”

Served in compostable bowls, each starts with a layer of forbidden black or light green bamboo rice – “a short-grain white rice that is soaked in the juice of young bamboo, so it is very rich in vitamins B, D and chlorophyll,” Weiss informed us. On his recommendation, I ordered half forbidden and half bamboo on my second visit and was delighted with the wonderful combination of textures and flavors this approach imparted.

When we returned to our seats near the bar, among those there, everyone was eating poke. About the Yuzu Kosho Salmon Bowl, Weiss says, “Yuzu kosho sauce is a Japanese citrus with green pepper paste, and this sauce has a lot of mirin, orange juice, and yuzu juice, so it’s sweeter.” The bowl also features avocado, sake-braised lotus root, and Persian cucumbers for crunch and cilantro for garnish.

On both visits, my table mates had the Spicy Tuna Poke, which is likely to be the most popular, and they were happy with their order. Carefully cubed tuna is dressed in togarashi mayonnaise and topped with avocado, sliced ​​Persian cucumbers, hijiki (small seaweed that grows on rocks), sweet mango cubes and Hot Takis, a hot cheeto of Latin inspiration, which adds a serious spice and crunch factor. I also tried the Leche de Tigre salmon poke and loved it. An essential element of Peruvian ceviche, Leche de Tigre sauce is prepared with lime juice, chili peppers and herbs and “cooks” the salmon. Then they add avocado, edamame and jicama for the crunch, cilantro and pickled Fresno peppers for a kick.

“The menu is still evolving and we will also have a build-your-own bowl offering. Once we’re fully operational in our own location, we’ll be adding a vermicelli rice base and a keto-friendly vegetable base and likely expanding to 8-10 more items that can be added to the bowls. Plus, we have six different sauces to add to the bowls,” Weiss said.

When Catch opens the doors to their restaurant, I’ll be there. Until then, I’ll be heading to CHOMP for poke where I hope to be more of one of the few people eating fresh seafood, perfect for those hot summer days.

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