Rodelio Aglibot, the Food Buddha, has been poking around for new concepts since Yum Cha closed, and it appears the chef's found one. Later this spring, he'll open FireFin Poké Shop inside the skyscraper at 10 S. LaSalle St. A news release described FireFin as a quick-service concept that will serve Hawaiian-style bowls and salads. The restaurant allows Chicago to join the party New York and Los Angeles have already started, making poké a fast-casual trend.
It's not the only Hawaiian-inspired fast-casual spot in Chicago (hello, Aloha Eats). There'a also a concept planned for the French Market, Aloha Poké. Over at FireFin, there will be a selection of eight to 10 bowls, including the FireFin (purple rice, ahi tuna, pickled jalapeños, avocado and a fire sauce with habanero and Japanese yuzu kosho paste).
Customers can also build their own by picking a base from purple rice, gluten-free noodles, lettuce cups or garden greens, and then selecting a protein from raw tuna, salmon, tomba tuna, chicken or tofu. The bowl will then be topped with veggies and gluten-free sauces. FireFin is saying they'll stay away from the use of refined-white sugar.
FireFin is a collaboration with Shin Thompson and Anshul Mangal (Furious Spoon), and chef Frank Fronda. Fronda and have Aglibot have worked together in California. Any new seafood endeavor comes with questions about sustainability, as locally the Shedd Aquarium has raised awareness through its Right Bite Program. Aglibot said he'll make use of his Hawaiian fishmongers and source sustainable, long-line caught tuna and albacore from the island state.
FireFin could inspire other poké Chicago copycats. Spring is really on its way, Chicago, so stay tuned.