There’s simply just too much Hawaiian fish we need to discuss.
Starting with Sweetfin Poké (pictured), which soft-opened for lunch today in Santa Monica. And followed by Mainland Poke Shop, opening Friday on West 3rd Street.
What you have here is two elevated poke spots from two respectable local chefs. It’d probably be pretty stupid to go and start superficially comparing them. So let’s do that.
Sweetfin: A bright, beachy spread of blond woods and sea-blue marble just a quick walk from a real, actual ocean.
Mainland: A simple, clean rectangle lined with black countertops backed by murals of surf spray. No beach, but there is outdoor seating. (See the slideshow of both places here.)
The Recognizable Chef
Sweetfin: Dakota Weiss, the inked-up former W Westwood chef who did the obligatory Top Chef pass-through. Also, she likes poke.
Mainland: LA native Kayson Chong, a veteran of 3 Square, Röckenwagner and Boa. Also, he likes poke. Funny how timing works out sometimes.
What You’re Eating
Sweetfin: Pole-caught snapper, albacore and salmon on bamboo rice or kelp noodles. Topped with stuff like sriracha ponzu, charred habaneros and pickled shiitakes. (See the menu.)
Mainland: Albacore, salmon, ahi and octopus on rice or greens—topped with fish roe, maybe, and sauces like agave teriyaki and Thai chili coconut.
There, now you’re ready for the research.