Wauwatosa will soon have its very own dedicated poke spot. R&R Poke is slated to open on Sept. 22 at 1460 Underwood Ave.
The restaurant, owned by Ren Zhang (pictured above) and his wife Rachel Zhao, is the product of passion for the hospitality industry and a love for fresh, high quality sushi.
Born in Southern China, Zhang grew up in the restaurant industry. His family moved to the U.S. when he was 13 years old. Over the years, they owned and operated a number of restaurants, including Japanica in Greenfield, where he worked as a sushi chef. In the years that followed, he ventured out on his own, opening Cheng Wong at 1631 Miller Park Way, a business he sold in 2016 in preparation for his foray into the world of poké ( more about his journey and inspiration here).
Just about two years later, Zhang says he's excited to debut his new fast casual eatery, which offers seating for about 23 guests in a bright, clean restaurant decorated in lively spring green and dusty turquoise.
Poke, sushi and more
Poke is the mainstay of the R&R Poke menu. However, at R&R the dish can be enjoyed in four different forms: a traditional rice bowl (with white rice or quinoa), a sushi burrito, a maki roll or a poke salad in which ingredients are served over mixed greens.
A build-your-own option is available in three sizes: a snack with one protein for $8.95, a mid-sized bowl with two for $11.95 or a large bowl with three proteins for $13.95. From there, customers can choose from among a variety of proteins, vegetables, sauces, toppings and textural elements.
Alternatively, R&R also features eight signature bowls including Yellow Fest with yellowtail, avocado, scallions, jalapenos, nori, sesame seeds, toasted salt, sweet onion. Schichimi chili pepper and traditional Hawaiian sauce ($11.95); Seafood Harvest featuring tuna, salmon, shrimp, avocado, mango, edamame, crispy onion, spicy mayo, eel sauce and sesame seeds ($13.95); and the Vegan of the Sea featuring organic tofu, mango, goji berries, edamame, sweet onion, lettuce, cucumber, sesame seeds, red cabbage, carrot and sprouting tips ($10.25). All bowls will be fresh and made to order at the retail counter.
Zhang says he’ll also feature freshly made specialty sushi – including rolls and sashimi – in a grab-and-go cold case near the register. Those specials will be announced weekly on the restaurant's Facebook page.
On the beverage side, customers can order up fresh cut tropical smoothies (priced $4.25/$5.25) or freshly pressed juices from the "Juice Pharmacy" which includes combinations like carrot and orange (for energy); carrot, beet, green apple and ginger for allergies and orange, strawberry and lemon to boost immunity. Juices are $4.75 or $5.75. Energy shots, including ginseng, flax seed, goji berries and acai are also available for an extra $1. There’s also bubble milk tea, fruit tea and herbal teas.
Beginning Sept. 22, R&R Poke will be open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m.
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.