I am terrified of raw fish — the kind in the lake, the kind in the ocean and especially the kind on my plate.
So needless to say I felt like a fish out of water walking into Raleigh Raw for some poké. But with new trends, comes new experiences. And if it’s hip, it goes on the blog. I did this for you, dear reader.
The extent of my raw fish knowledge begins and ends with the veggie sushi at Publix. This was unchartered territory. And I choked.
Sweet potato, raw fish — it’s all considered poké, right? I had no regrets. And while I went in with the mentality of overcoming my fishy fears, this felt like anything but a failed mission.
Sitting in front of one of the coolest murals in Raleigh, N.C., listening to a remix of Hall and Oates’ “I Can’t Go for That” and diving into my sweet potato poké bowl, I realized that Raleigh Raw might be one of my favorite gems in the city.
I’ve been to different juice bars. Don’t think of Raleigh Raw as one of those. Rather than cranking out their juice in a cold, stale environment, Raleigh Raw is warm and welcoming with the bar on the right, seats on the left and a mural that your eye can’t miss being the focal point in the back. I didn’t feel like I was in a generically branded juice bar at all. This is an experience you don’t want to miss.
Founder Sherif Fouad, a health coach and experienced mixologist, has brought a whole new way to experience a healthy lifestyle in Raleigh. With “a strong desire to make the world healthy and happy, and undying love and appreciation for a well built, balanced, proper cocktail,” he envisioned Raleigh Raw. And that was something co-owner Leslie Woods could get behind.
With this dynamic duo behind all the action, Raleigh Raw is slinging out juice, coffee, poké, smoothies and brew to name a few. And if you don’t have time to invest in a healthy lifestyle, they make it easy with their grab ‘n go items at the front of the cafe, which includes items like their mixed berry coconut parfait, truffles and chia pudding.
Now let’s talk poké. The word “poké” means to slice or cut into pieces, which refers to not only the fish, but the fruits and vegetables as well. It’s kind of like deconstructed sushi that’s taken to a whole new level with more interesting ingredients. In other words, way better than the vegetarian sushi I get from Publix.
Here’s what I ordered (pictured above) and what I’m going back for very soon. For the base, I chose greens. And for the set up (all the stuff on top of the base), I chose the rosarito, which includes orange, grapefruit, jackfruit, cucumber, heirloom tomato, scallions, roasted corn, sesame seed, cilantro and avocado. And then I chose the purple sweet potato because as we’ve already established, I’m a wimp — no raw fish meat here. The bowls are served with two sauces, a cashew based togarashi sauce and tamari.
I had to switch from chopsticks to a fork because I couldn’t get the goodness into my mouth fast enough (& let’s be honest, my hand was starting to cramp).
And if you’re into the raw fish scene, Asher said his was more than up to par. Here’s what he went for. For the base, he got a mix of rice and greens. And for the set up, he ordered the faroe monch, which includes things like mango, seaweed salad and microgreens among others. To top it all off, he chose the salmon.
So whether you’re into fish or you’d rather keep it vegan (or you’re afraid of uncooked seafood), Raleigh Raw is your place to go. While you’re there, pick up some juice or something from their grab ‘n go. And as they say, #fuelthehustle.