Sure, each month seemingly brings news of the latest poke bar in town—we’re trying to recall what cooked fish is like at this point. But for all those recent purveyors of the Hawaiian dish springing up throughout the city, Ballard has seen little to none. Until now.
Hotel Albatross sits between its sibling joints, walkup window Sexy Alley Puffy Tacos and Spanish tapas bar Ocho, on Market Street. Before getting to its swarthy backbar that slings exotic libations, there’s what co-owner Zach Harjo calls a “concierge’s bar.” It's had some identity crises since Harjo opened Hotel Albatross with Keith Bartoloni and Andrew Church of Hazlewood. In the past it's been a daiquiri bar, hosted popups and guest bartenders, or otherwise acted as a dormant hallway to bathrooms. “That always broke my heart,” says Harjo, “because I personally put a ton of work into that space.”
As of today though, it will henceforth be known as No Vacancy Poke.
Behind the white-tiled bar, chef Jon Green, who’s been helming the Hotel Albatross kitchen for about two months, will construct bowls of poke. Unlike the build-your-own model of most fast casual poke spots, these are pretty set. Choose from fresh tuna, salmon, or hamachi, then let Green do the rest; nevermind piling it with add-on after add-on.
To start, there will be five bowls, like a spicy one made with fresno chilis, mandarin oranges, radishes, crunchy sweet onions, and dressed with chili mayo, or one with edamame, seaweed salad, furikake, and wasabi mayo.
On the drink side of things—yes, there will be booze—Harjo is thinking along the lines of punch. There’s the rum-based Fish House punch, the Singapore Sling, here served with a nod to the original which was created at the Raffles Hotel in 1915, and one made with rosé, tequila, Cocchi Americano, citrus, and basil.
For now, hours for No Vacancy Poke (proper address 2319 NW Market St) will be Wednesday through Sunday, from 4 to 9. Harjo says after getting their bearings, they aim to be open daily from noon to 10 by the second week of April.