Montreal has seen a growing selection of raw and healthy options lately, most notably among which is the raw salad joint Foodchain. Today marks the arrival of a new notch on that belt with the grand opening of OK Poké from partners in business and life Marina Corsillo and Beaver Sheppard (Dinette Triple Crown, Bethlehem XXX, Dépanneur Le Pick-Up).
This new venture bears some semblance to Pick-Up, one of Sheppard’s prior projects, in how it features a small 12-seat counter for diners. “Our current license is for an épicerie... We’re like a little market with products for sale, snacks and other things, as well as being a poké takeout counter,” Corsillo told Eater. Located on Shamrock street, the borough has plenty of street-side seating where patrons can take their orders if there’s no spot indoors.
The inspiration reaches back to the time Corsillo first tried poké at the hands of Sheppard. “(It) was several years ago at Bethlehem, and I’d never heard of it before,” she says. “It wasn’t the trend that it is today. Beaver had been in the know about it since way back, and he’s loved it for a long time.” As for why the two have decided to open a business focused on the dish, the partners wanted to create a menu that focuses on raw, healthy options. “That’s what we thought the area needed, we find that what people want these days is something with a more health-conscious approach.”
The poké itself comes with the choices of white or brown rice, with proteins ranging from tofu to Matane shrimp, salmon and tofu. This all comes with a choice of five different sauces which includes golden coconut, wasabi ginger and spicy Szechuan. Taking any one of these combinations of protein, rice and sauce can be made all-dressed: Edamame, cucumber, pineapple, onion, puffed rice, furikake, green papaya, masago, sesame and coriander. The fish itself has been sourced with sustainability and traceability in mind: “We’ve been running around town trying to find the best source for our fish, because we have to know where it comes from,” Corsillo says. “Sometimes the salmon can be called ‘Atlantic salmon’, but that doesn’t mean ii comes from Atlantic Canada. It could just be the breed of salmon that’s bred in tanks (elsewhere)... It’s not the best for you or the fish.”
In addition to this Hawaiian dish, this new joint features salads and specialty drinks as well.
The salads lean towards selections that are strictly vegan, some of which are offered with an option to add protein; “not fish, though, because that would be weird,” Corsillo notes. These include spiralized veggies with peanut sauce, basil and mint; a mix greens like minuza, red ochre, radish leaf and arugula, among others; cloud ear mushroom with coriander and a garlic-chilli vinaigrette; and a heavier lentil salad with bamboo, wild rice and a curry dressing.
In keeping with the healthy-conscious approach, Corsillo notes that each of the special drinks feature “supplements or anti-inflammatory properties.” That’s immediately apparent in OK Poké’s offering of Golden Milk, a mix of cashew milk, tumeric, black pepper and spices, or Super Green, a mix of white tea, moringa, and chlorophyll.
STATUS — OK Poké is open at 75 Shamrock Avenue from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily.