Pokeworks, the fast-casual poke eatery that rose to prominence after its 2016 sushi burrito video gained traction online, introduced plant-based tuna to its menu exclusively at the company’s Irvine restaurant starting Wednesday, June 28.
“We wanted to look for more sustainable options for our menu by offering plant-based items, but often they were never good enough,” says Michael Chen, president and cofounder of Pokeworks. “If it doesn’t taste good then we’re not going to carry it, but the one we found tastes great.”
These 10 Orange County restaurants offer views for watching Fourth of July fireworks
New Neapolitan-style pizza restaurant opens in Dana Point
Red Lobster will start serving ‘endless shrimp’ every day
Orange County restaurants get much-needed boost from California grants
El Torito in Orange is closing its doors after 33 years in business
The company landed on Impact Foods, founded in 2021 by UC Berkeley graduates, which specializes in sushi-grade plant-based tuna that mirrors the bluefin variety. In addition to being the world’s most consumed fish, bluefin tuna remains one of our most endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). While efforts have been made to preserve the species, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch list still recommends avoiding it.
Impact Foods’ soy protein-based tuna mimics bluefin’s subtle yet complex flavor — which runs the gamut from umami, sweet, and salty — by the use of seaweed. Pokeworks menu offers a variety of ways to use their new vegan tuna, including poke bowls and the aforementioned burrito.
The chain, which has 65 locations throughout the United States, hopes to add even more plant-based options to its menu (it also sells tofu for the vegan-minded), including the possibility of working with Wildtype, a San Francisco-based company that produces cell-based salmon.
Find it: Pokeworks, 15333 Culver Drive (at Irvine Center Drive), Irvine