By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jun 27, 2018 at 1:17 PM

If you’re craving a poke bowl, there’s now yet another spot to get your fix.

Fusion Poke, the second location for this Chicago-based restaurant, opened softly today at 1813 E. Kenilworth Pl. It’s the retail space that formerly housed Hotch. And, interestingly, it’s within spitting distance of Milwaukee’s very first poke restaurant, Freshfin Poke.

But Fusion Poke is likely to differentiate itself with its menu, which includes a host of trendy offerings like ramen, Thai rolled ice cream and boba tea. It’s also the first restaurant in the city to offer Taiwanese shaved ice, a milk-based treat that’s shaved thinly into beautiful, sweet, refreshing layers.

The counter service restaurant itself is bright and open with cream walls and charcoal and earth toned tiles. There’s seating available for about 30 inside the restaurant, both at a long wooden bar, as well as stools at low-top tables.

Upon entry, you’re greeted by a pot of lucky bamboo and a laughing buddha, symbols of abundance, integrity and harmony.

As far as process goes, you’ll place your order and pay at the counter. Your food will be prepared at stations situated around the restaurant, and when it’s ready, they’ll call the number that appears on your receipt.

On the menu

Among poke offerings, there are six signature bowls, available in two sizes for $9.59 and $12.59. Among the more unique offerings is the Tako Poke featuring octopus, edamame, cucumber, pickled ginger, pickled daikon, avocado, masago, seaweed salad, furikake, crunchy tempura and yuzu sauce.

And, if you’re craving something moderately spicy, there’s Volcano Poke with shrimp, edamame, carrots, cabbage, pineapple, avocado, kanikama, masago, seaweed salad, crunchy onion and flame sauce.

Custom bowls are also available with a choice of bases (white or brown rice, mixed greens, seaweed salad), proteins (tuna, salmon, tofu, shrimp, octopus), unlimited toppings (including vegetables, masago, tamago, inari, kanikami and seaweed salad), crunchy garnishes (onion, tempura, fuikake, coconut, sesame seeds) and sauces (spicy mayo, creamy wasabi, yuzu, flame and house fusion sauce). Just fill out the order form at the counter to place your order.

Not in the mood for poke? Ramen comes in three varieties: tonkotsu, miso, shio and shoyu ($11.99 each). Additional toppings are available including nori, red ginger, boiled egg, menma, corn, bean sprouts, fish cakes, extra noodles and extra broth (pricing ranges from 75 cents to $3 for each).

On the beverage side, there’s boba tea (milk and fruit teas, $3.95) along with fruit smoothies in flavors like mango, strawberry, lychee, watermelon, papaya, red bean, banana, avocado and peach. Toppings include tapioca, grass jelly, rainbow jelly and popping boba in mango, strawberry, lychee or kiwi (50 cents each).

Desserts include Thai rolled ice cream in a variety of flavors like strawberry, Oreo, mango, banana, wild berry, kiwi, s’mores and matcha ($5.75). Meanwhile, Taiwanese style shaved ice is available in flavors like matcha, taro, strawberry, mango, black sesame (pictured, topped with popping boba), milk tea, red bean, key lime pie, coconut and lychee ($5.75). You can top your ice with coconut flakes, fruit mix, jelly mix or popping boba for an additional 50 cents.

The restaurant is currently in its soft opening phase, but will host a grand opening on July 7 during which it will offer 30 percent off all menu items.

Fusion Poke is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.