I’d been in contact with Nate Abel throughout the process of opening his new Lancaster restaurant, Chop Sushi.
He did all the interior work himself – installing some serious nautical hardware as a door handle, pouring the concrete counter top, and painting the interior of the 25-seat lunch and dinner spot. All of this took quite a while – but when I finally got to try the specialty, poke (pronounced “po-kay”), I found out it was worth the wait.
Poke – definitely not related to Pokemon – is a traditional Hawaiian dish, which at its base is a chopped raw fish salad. Abel first encountered poke on a visit to Hawaii. He loved it. Soon after, he caught wind that poke shops were sprouting up on the West Coast.
Being a huge fan of the dish, and sushi in general, Abel thought now was the perfect time to expose Lancastrians to poke.
As my visit to Chop Sushi began, he walked me through the ordering process.
First, choose a “base” of white rice or spring mix
greens. (You can also go the hibachi route with fried rice.) Then, add veggies like edamame, thinly sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, onions, or jalapeño slices.
Next, add a protein: tuna, spicy tuna, crab, salmon, yellowtail, or shrimp.
Abel said he gets fresh fish delivered daily, and for The Dish he offered the most popular, tuna. My bowl, which could easily be eaten in house or on the go (Chop Sushi is conveniently located next to the pop up park on Prince Street), consisted of sushi rice, two scoops of chopped, fresh tuna and an abundance of fresh vegetables.
After my first bite I knew I was hooked – pardon the fish pun. Poke at Chop Sushi is fun and delicious. It’s like a custom-built sushi roll in a bowl. With each bite I experimented with flavors.
Topped with Sriracha aioli, ginger dressing, green onions, and masago (roe of Atlantic Capelin), the tuna burst with flavor. I dove deep to get some warm rice to combine with the cool fish and with the next bite added cucumber. For my next bite of this deconstructed sushi roll I added some Hawaiian sea salt and seaweed flakes from shaker containers on the counter. It was just enough to add a little oomph to an already perfect lunch.
After I was done picking and choosing each individual bite I decided to mix the entire rest of my bowl together with the addition of an authentic Hawaiian soy sauce, which is less salty and a tad fruitier than common soy sauces. The soy sauce really accentuated the ginger.
Don’t want the burden of making decisions? Chop Sushi offers a “favorites” menu of classic poke, spicy tuna poke, California poke, Alaska poke, steak hibachi, and salmon salad. If you’re a sashimi kind of person, go with the classic poke. If you like chef’s sushi rolls, add all the veggies you can to your bowl.
126 N Prince St. Lancaster; 283-0599