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Friday, January 6, 2017

Pokéworks at The Block: an outstanding option for Annandale dining

A Pokéworks salad features sushi and more. [Pokéworks]
By Adam Goldberg

We’re so happy to have The Block move to the neighborhood. While only two of the six vendors – Pokéworks and Snocream Company – were open the evening I was there, the others all look exciting, and I can’t wait for them to open.

The ambience at The Block, at 4221 John Marr Drive next to the Annandale Kmart, is trendy, hip, and kid friendly. There seemed to be lots of seating, and parking is ample. Annandale really needs places like this to grow. I’m a big fan and will continue to give them our business.

Pokéworks is fantastic. My wife and I have been there twice, and we’ve tried a few of their bowls and burritos (both signature and custom).

When you walk in, the set-up is similar to any other quick-serve establishment like Cava or Chipotle. Your basic selection is either a bowl (rice based), burrito (like a large uncut sushi roll), or salad (greens based).

You can select either a signature work, with preselected ingredients, or a custom work, where you choose all the ingredients. The first time we went my wife tried the signature Hawaiian Classic, an ahi tuna-based bowl with green and sweet onion, ogo seaweed, cucumber, chili flakes, sesame seeds, roasted sesame oil, Hawaiian salt, and classic Pokéworks sauce.

I had the spicy ahi bowl with ahi tuna, green and sweet onion, cucumber, masago (fish roe), sesame oil, and a healthy dose of sriracha aioli. Both bowls were outstanding. The fish was fresh, the combination of ingredients complimented each other well, and the portion size was good enough for me (I’m a big enough dude).

The second time we went, my wife made a custom burrito with salmon, mango, shiso (a minty herb), ogo seaweed, seaweed salad, avocado, green onion, and a spicy ginger sauce. I once again opted for the spicy ahi, but had it as a salad this time (the holidays have not been kind to my waistline).

Once again, the food was great. I think my wife was less impressed with her burrito, but she said it was because she didn’t pick the right ingredient combination and was no fault of the food itself. I enjoyed my spicy ahi salad; I am a real sucker for sriracha, and their aioli was off the chain.

Their selections also include albacore tuna, shrimp, scallops, free-range chicken breast, and organic tofu for protein, as well as several other varieties of sauces (such as sweet chili cochujang sauce, wasabi aioli, and fresh ponzu sauce). They have a good selection of add-ons, including other varieties of seaweed, edamame, spicy furiake, crab salad, pickled ginger, and lotus crisps to name a few.

Both times we’ve gone (at about 5 and 6 p.m.), The Block was pretty full of people, but not packed. The line moves quickly, and the staff are very friendly. I know we will be back, a lot.

In addition to Pokéworks, The Block features Balo Kitchen (Asian comfort food), Roots (Thai street food), Snocream (“shaved snow” with unique toppings). The Block Bar, and Munch (ice cream and donuts).  

6 comments:

  1. Awesome! Look forward to trying it out soon.

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  2. I will be checking this out very soon. I'm really excited! This is a fabulous addition to the area.

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  3. I concur -- I've been once -- it's delicious.

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  4. Packed at 6pm, good sign.

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  5. FYI, Balo had a soft opening last night and was serving noodle dishes plus some raised pork thing that was really very good.

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  6. I love this new concept, finally some out of the box successful thinking. Good to see market driven solutions rather than county or state bad ideas in our shopping centers: like a mobile homeless shelter or a flying DMV or another social services center.

    I am looking forward to a visit, I am actually for once excited that the pit of Annandale may have bud of inspiration rather than a butt of a TitleMax or another junk store.

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