Reviews: Poké Pop, Izakaya Minato

The Maine Sunday Telegram has reviewed the Portland location of Poké Pop.

Named for chef/owner Anusat “Pop” Limsitong, the restaurant is a confusion of fusion, with cross-cultural elements intended to enliven bowls of cubed protein, vegetables and rice. By and large, these tweaks are unnecessary and involve sickly sweet sauces that make Poké Pop’s signature dish a huge letdown. If you must order poké, stick to the tofu bowl and customize your order with a squirt of the soy-based shoyu umami sauce, the least sweet of the restaurant’s offerings. But if it’s sweetness you’re after, Poké Pop has you covered. Its bing soo shaved ice, which is really a Filipino halo halo parfait made with fruit ice cream, shaved milk ice and about a thousand other ingredients, is terrific, even though it takes 15 minutes to prepare each one.

Down East magazine has reviewed Izakaya Minato.

Every dish brings a fresh set of tastes and textures: smoky bacon-wrapped rice cakes, melt-off-the-bone Korean-style barbecue short ribs, spicy kimchi fried rice. The broiled black cod, marinated in sake lees, is nearly the consistency of butter. Fried tofu squares, with jalapeño, soy sauce, and bonito, addictively marry spicy and salty — I suspect I could snack on these all day.