Leander Poke Fit restaurant serves Hawaiian-style seafood dishes

The Salmon Fit dish includes salmon, avocado, crab, seaweed salad, masago and garlic aioli poke sauce.

Poke Fit owner Kyle Lee knows a lot about fish. He spent 15 years in the high-pressure environment of sushi restaurants, growing from assistant to sushi chef.

“It’s hard work,” Lee said. “We yell at you if you’re wrong.”

Most of that time was spent in California, where he worked for Kabuki, a Japanese restaurant that has locations in California, Texas, and a few other states. While living in California, he began to see poke restaurants become more popular. Poke is a Hawaiian dish made from diced raw fish. He decided to bring the kitchen to the Austin area and opened Poke Fit in 2017.

A casual eatery located off US 183 in Leander, Poke Fit is different from the faster-paced world of sushi restaurants, Lee said. Here, customers line up outside a bar and select the items they want from their bowls, similar to Chipotle.

While Poke is a Hawaiian dish, Lee also wanted to incorporate Japanese influences into the cooking. At Poke Fit, customers can choose from premium seafood like salmon, albacore, shrimp, and tuna. They can also choose from homemade Japanese-style sauces such as ponzu and sesame shoyu.

Lee said his goal with Poke Fit was to create a restaurant that was healthy, simple, cheap, and fast.

“People want cheaper fresh sashimi,” Lee said.

The price of the bowls varies by size from $9.99 to $14.99. Customers first select a rice or salad base, then choose sides, proteins, mixes, sauces and toppings.

People who don’t like fish can order teriyaki chicken or tofu and entrees such as Brussels sprouts and gyoza balls.

Lee said sometimes people are skeptical about trying poke, but once they try it, they love it.

“I’m very touched by the response,” Lee said. “[Locals] to like [having] this restaurant here.

What is Poke?

Poke is a Hawaiian dish consisting of diced raw fish served with sauce. Poke Fit owner Kyle Lee said eating the poke at his restaurant is like enjoying sushi in a bowl.

2701 US 183, Leander
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11am-9pm, closed Sun.

Dino S. Williams