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pokéLOVE is excited to announce the opening of its first restaurant in June, 2016 located in Palo Alto at Town & Country Village.
pokéLOVE has a healthy fast-casual structure with an extensive menu that has been creatively crafted by restaurateur Alex Chan and Executive Chef Colin Long. The concept for pokéLOVE was created based on their passion for creating simple food that is natural, sustainable, minimally processed, and also incredibly flavorful.
pokéLOVE cares about every ingredient and the quality of their
seafood is paramount. Chan is a man of exceptionally high personal standards and values genuine collaboration. With connections to Northern California purveyors and local ingredients, they source their seafood from some of the best sources locally and around the world, such as Wild Isles Organic Salmon.
pokéLOVE’s values are centered on the fact that “Delicious food can still be really healthy and good for you, and that you should not have to compromise taste for calories.” pokéLOVE believes in using only the freshest ingredients of the highest quality that are bursting with nutrients, vitamins and plenty of fatty acids.
We got to sit down and interview restaurateur Alex Chan this week. And we also got to try variety of the dishes, endless combination even for the pickiest eater. And if you can’t eat raw, they can can steam or bake the salmon for you. Sous vide chicken and Unagi are also on the protein list for you. Plenty of choices for vegetarian and vegan. All their sauces are gluten-free, no nut, and children friendly place.
DLM: What inspired you to pursue this pokéLOVE restaurant concept?
Alex Chan: I have a sincere appreciation for all things food and wine.
Not counting Antarctica, I’ve traveled to 6 continents in search of the best food. Food is so much more than just 3 stars or 0 stars. I’ve been to best restaurants in the world, but I really don’t give a damn about ratings and stars. Some of the best meals I have had are in night markets that would not pass any reasonable health inspections. But I’m cool with that. Food is so much more to me than stars. It’s about sharing, about giving, about experiencing. Why did I start pokéLOVE? Because I’m crazy about simple food, that is healthy food, that is really tasty. And because what’s worth doing is worth doing RIGHT. My inspiration for pokéLOVE is create the very best poke experience by serving the best poke, with the best toppings and dressings in a fun place that is chill with a cool vibe.
DLM: Do have a corporate chef to help you with creating the menu? Where have chef worked before?
Alex Chan: Our executive chef is Colin Long. Colin graduated from the Culinary Institute in Florida. From Quattro at the Four Season’s in Palo Alto to Blowfish Sushi at Santana Row, Colin brings a unique culinary background in western and eastern flavors. He has spent a lot of time sourcing fantastic ingredients and creating dressings that would fit in most fine dining restaurants. There is a purity and sincerity to the food he makes and to the fish that he cuts. The little details do matter to Colin. The subtle nuances of flavor, color and texture do make a difference. Even something as simple as our wakame (seafood salad), is locally sourced and has no artificial flavors or preservatives.
DLM: There’s quite a few poke restaurants popping up around the Bay Area recently. Do you think it’s an emerging trend now? Just like Boba drink or crawfish a few years back?
Alex Chan: It is emerging and it currently is a trend. Put good food is never trendy, good food is always “in” and the consumers move to healthy and nutritious food is not going to change. pokéLOVE brings a unique fast casual dining experience that is exciting to this space. Inevitably, the crème always rises to the top and some players will fall by the wayside. Our food, our vibe, our brand, our respect for our ingredients and our level of customer service is anti-trendy.
DLM: What’s your philosophy here and what set pokéLOVE different than the rest of the poke restaurants in the Bay Area?
Alex Chan: My motto is:” we don’t eat to live, we live to EAT!” First and foremost, the food at pokéLOVE is so much different than other strip mall poke shops. We give a shit about our ingredients and we treat it with care and respect. The quality of our seafood is paramount. We have taken great pains to source our seafood from some of the best purveyors in the Bay Area and around the world and we are the only ones to proudly offer Wild Isles Organic Salmon. In addition to the extensive protein selection, customers can select from organic quinoa, organic farro, soba noodles, rice noodles, or even quinoa tortilla chips for their base. We offer our customers an unlimited selection of traditional and edgy toppings to build their own bowl, including numerous organic options. We pickle all our pickled vegetables in house; including our pickled leeks, shiitake mushrooms, and daikon. We make all our dressings from scratch utilizing natural ingredients and all out dressings are gluten free. We don’t believe your food should have dressings that come out of a PUMP! At pokéLOVE , we want our customers to let their creativity and tastes buds roam as we craft whatever they desire, in whatever combination they wish. Our goal for every customer to help them find that elusive healthy balance of salty, sour, sweet, bitter, spicy, and umami in a fun, relaxed and chill atmosphere.
DLM: What does sustainability mean to you?
Alex Chan: Sustainability to me means walking a fine line between eating what we want and giving a real damn about the environment and our oceans. At pokéLOVE, we source all our seafood from highly reputable vendors and we are able to trace the origins of everything we buy. We have some wild items on our menu, but only when the item is in season and bountiful. Our farm raised products come from some of the best seafood farmers in the world. In fact, our house salmon is from the Faroe Islands, long regarded as the benchmark salmon preferred by chefs around the world. Beyond our food, sustainable also means to be environmentally conscious. All our bowls and utensils are compostable or recyclable and nothing in our operations go to a landfills. Even the garbage bags we use are compostable.
DLM: How did you get to this restaurant business? What’s your background? Can you share with our readers?
Alex Chan: I was an accountant turned food dude. After graduating from the University of Southern California, I was a Consultant at Price Waterhouse. I eventually lost interest in bean counting, and became the Master Franchiser for Cold Stone Creamery in Northern California. I developed over a hundred units in less than 5 years. A wine enthusiast, I jumped into the vino business and started Vintage Wine Merchants at Santana Row (“Best Wine Shop” – San Jose Mercury News Readers Poll). A few years later, Vintage Wine Bar at Santana Row opened, serving up cabs by the glass, stinky fromage plates and became the “Hottest Wine Bar” in San Jose (METRO San Jose). I’m also co-owner of several established independent grocery stores in the Bay Area. I’m happily married to my crazy low maintenance college sweetheart, and has three beyond super cool kids.
DLM: What do you for fun?
Alex Chan: When I’m not working. I love to get out on the hills and pretend that I’m in the Tour de France, play golf when my old-man shoulder does not ache, watch some USC football with the family, play Iron Chef at home, and will never turn down the occasion to have some good eats and a nice glass of wine with family and friends.
DLM: You’ve emphasized community service in your career and through your restaurant. In addition to being active in many organizations?
Alex Chan: We are still evaluating which community and non-profit organizations we plan to partner with. As a sign of how serious I am about giving back and being involved, 10 cents will to go charity for every bottle of water we sell. Community involvement is a core value of the company and we give damn about giving back to the local communities that we do business in.
855 El Camino Real, Suite 9
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Open from 11am to 9pm daily
by Manda Bear