Until recently, our most engaging experience of Hawaii was MTV's "Maui Fever." Cheyne was our favorite.
So until someone buys us a plane ticket to Honolulu, we're going to have to experience island life through the Hawaiian poke bars currently taking over Los Angeles at the same rate “Maui Fever” dudes used to prey on tourist girls. In the midst of the poke takeover, one place we think is doing it exceptionally right is Sweetfin Poke in Santa Monica.
Just a few blocks from the heart of tourist crack den, the 3rd Street promenade, Sweetfin is like taking a dip in your neighbor's above ground pool on the hottest day of summer. It's small, it's clean, it's refreshing. It’s a quick and cheap option on a stretch of fast-food joints, bars, and upscale restaurants.
The menu at Sweetfin can be daunting for a first timer. The options, not unlike the hookup scene in Maui, seem endless. In addition to the option to build your own bowl, there are eight suggested signature bowls, plus serious "add on” options from crispy garlic to chili marinated oranges.
One important thing we've learned from frequenting Sweetfin is that the "base" of the bowl is really important. Choose wisely and remember that kale still tastes like kale, even when doused in really delicious poke.
We're happy that Sweetfin Poke has landed in Santa Monica and if the crowds are any indication, unlike "Maui Fever," Sweetfin will be sticking around.
The tuna here is topped with creamy togarashi sauce, hijiki, and avocado. We once made the mistake of going for a kale base – it was overpowering in its kale-iness. Stick to rice here.
This one comes with sriracha ponzu sauce, hijiki, and avocado. We went with the cucumber slaw for the base. The sriracha ponzu sauce here is a lighter option than the spicy tuna’s togarashi sauce.
A friend recommended we try this combo and now we’re sold. It’s basically a giant luau in your mouth.