Why Do I Go to a Poke Restaurant for Smoothies?
By Hansol Hwang
Most people would go to a burger joint to munch on their famous cheeseburger, loaded with onion rings, a special sauce and a 100 percent wagyu beef patty. And most people would go to a poke restaurant to devour diced raw fish covered in ponzu and spicy mayo sauce, surrounded by freshly chopped vegetables and a variety of toppings such as furikake and fried onion bits. But, I go to a poke restaurant for their smoothies.
At Sharkie Poke in Old Town Monrovia, the poke bowls are excellent, but for this review I wanted to put the spotlight on their smoothies.
The menu has seven smoothies, all with a unique flavor profile. They have the Acai Madness, Green Day, Tango Mango, Topic Island, Merry Berry, Super Protein and Strawberry Banana. Among these different smoothies you can find acai, pomegranate juice, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, peanut butter, coconut water, fat free frozen yogurt and more.
The smoothies at Sharkie Poke stand out because all the ingredients are fresh and natural.
Although the ingredients make the smoothie taste the way it does, there is one more factor that plays into the overall quality of the drink.
Owner Sonny Ta said, “Whatever you do, you open a restaurant, you sell anything, you go from the heart. You act like you are the one eating it, not just selling it to people.” And this all made sense when I took my first sip of their smoothie. It’s one of those places where expectations are incalculable, but my first love here was their strawberry banana smoothie.
At first sip, the smoothie is ice cold and the consistency is thick enough to where a normal powered sip from the straw is enough to draw out the contents. That is comparative to trying to sip a thick in-n-out milkshake through a straw – which needs more than a normal powered sip.
The strawberry banana has banana, strawberry, apple juice, milk and fat free frozen yogurt. The milk and fat free frozen yogurt create a strong canvas and foundation for the rest of the ingredients. Additionally, the apple juice primes the smoothie, creating an open invitation for the rest of the ingredients to be added. Finally, the strawberry adds a slightly overt sweetness while the banana mellows out any extra sweet flavors that might ruin the balance of the smoothie.
Another reason the smoothie has a naturally exquisite taste is because Ta does not cut corners because of cost. He said the ingredients are chosen based on how he can best serve the customer with quality. “That way when the food comes out, you feel like family.” Ta said. “If you can’t eat it, do you think others can eat it?”
The top three smoothies here are the Tropic Island, Tango Mango and Strawberry Banana, Ta said.
-Tropic Island: coconut water, guava, papaya, mango, pineapple, fat free yogurt.
-Tango Mango: coconut water, guava, papaya, mango, pineapple and fat free yogurt.
-Strawberry Banana: banana, strawberries, apple juice, milk or soy milk and fat free frozen yogurt.
One smoothie will cost $5.99, but that price is for a generous serving of 24 ounces.
“If you cannot eat it, don’t bother selling it to people,” Ta said.
Sharkie Poke, located at 730 S. Myrtle Ave. in Monrovia, is open Monday – Thursday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and is closed on Sunday.