Update (1/19/18): After Pokeworks published an allergen list on their website, I noticed a couple of discrepancies that concerned me. The good news - Pokeworks was super responsive when I pointed out the errors and had fixed them within 15 minutes. The bad news - masago, or the orange fish eggs in the Wasabi Shrimp & Scallop bowl pictured below, is NOT gluten free. Please keep in mind when ordering!
When I first noticed that a small restaurant called Pokeworks had opened in my neighborhood, I was curious. And I had no idea what it was. I'd never heard of poke before, but when I looked it up, I immediately knew that I was going to like it. Poke is a Hawaiian favorite similar to sushi - raw salmon or tuna and rice are typically the base ingredients - but it's served in a bowl form, similar to Chipotle.
I suspected that poke would be a good option for gluten free folks, and I was right. Nearly every ingredient at Pokeworks is naturally gluten free. I do stay away from the "crunch" options at the end of the line, and you also have to be careful about the sauces, many of which contain gluten. When I asked the staff, they told me that the Wasabi Aioli and Spicy Ginger sauces are gluten free. So you can either get one of the bowls that contains these sauces, substitute one of these sauces in another type of bowl, or ask them to hold the sauce, which is what I often do (the gluten free options are both quite spicy, and I actually think poke bowls have plenty of flavor without the sauces). I've also asked them to hold the sauce and then add my own gluten free soy sauce for some extra flavor.
Most of the options at Pokeworks involve raw fish, similar to sushi, but if you're squeamish about raw fish, they do have a chicken option as well as a tofu option. But I haven't tried either of those yet because personally I love fish!
In addition to poke bowls, Pokeworks serves poke salads (a lettuce base instead of rice), which I have not tried. They also serve poke burritos, which are pretty neat, and also gluten free as they are wrapped with seaweed (again, may need to ask to hold the sauce)! I thought the burrito was fun to try, but I found it a little harder to eat and generally prefer to get a bowl.
Since Pokeworks opened in Davis Square (Somerville), a few months ago, it has quickly become a new favorite. Like the nearby Chipotle or Oath Pizza, it's a relatively inexpensive, quick option that I can easily grab after work. It's also very filling in the best possible way!
For now, the Davis Square location is the only Pokeworks in the state, but there are several other locations around the country, and a new Pokeworks is scheduled to open in Harvard Square this fall! Definitely a must-try for any sushi fans, or just for anyone who's curious!