The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday February 1st

Review: One Fish Two Fish brings Hawaiian cuisine to Carrboro

<p>Staff writer Sophia Wilhelm tried the "Island Classic" poke bowl at One Fish Two Fish poke last weekend.</p>
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Staff writer Sophia Wilhelm tried the "Island Classic" poke bowl at One Fish Two Fish poke last weekend.

After opening last spring, One Fish Two Fish has been bringing an authentic Hawaiian dish composed of fresh raw fish on a base of lettuce or rice and an assortment of toppings to Carrboro.

Staff writer Sophia Wilhelm indulged in the most popular item on her Saturday afternoon. 

The Ambiance

Let’s get one thing straight before beginning — ‘poke’ is pronounced as 'poh-kay.' The restaurant is adamant about customers getting it right, as they have a big sign that spells out the pronunciation.

Walking into the restaurant, I felt myself drift to a Hawaiian nirvana in a room of turquoise and beige walls. The music was upbeat with a continuous beach rhythm, ranging anywhere from "Hey, Soul Sister" by Train to "Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffett. 

The restaurant partners an island feel with modern interior designing and white curvy chairs tucked into wooden tables. On each table, small little vases carry light pink flowers that sit next to soy sauce and crushed wasabi peas in a pepper cracker. 


The employees are genuinely welcoming and enthusiastic about preparing your order. They wore faded red shirts with the North Carolina state outline that had the word ‘Poke’ in the middle. In a creative attempt to intertwine Hawaiian culture themed food in the South, the back of their shirts read, ‘Aloha, y’all!’

The staff diligently takes their time making your food aesthetically pleasing and appetizing, while also being aware of the line behind you. The restaurant has jumped on the modern bandwagon by using an iPad for payments, which made the process easy and simple. 

The Menu

The menu can appeal to anyone, including those who don’t like fish or those with dietary restrictions, including vegetarians. You can put as much or as little into your order as you want. The menu provides the customer with six custom poke bowls, and if you’re a picky eater, you can create your own bowl from scratch. 

The ‘Build Your Own’ Poke Bowl allows you to choose your base (rice, rice noodles, zucchini noodles, etc.), your scoop (ahi tuna, chicken, shrimp, eggplant, etc.), your sauce, and over 20 different toppings. Be prepared to spend some big bucks because each meal is a little over $10.00, not including tax. 

The restaurant offers a variety of exotic Hawaiian beverages, even kombucha. Be aware, if you get a fountain drink you won’t be getting your average soda. The fountain drinks, from the brand “Fountainhead- Gourmet Craft Sodas,” offer flavors from watermelon to coca-cola, except with the use of natural sweeteners, natural flavors and natural colors. So don’t expect your sugary tasting, calorie dense soda because you won’t get it. 

If you have a sweet tooth, the restaurant has your back. The eatery serves Hawaiian shaved ice with the classic flavors, $3.00 for a small and $6.00 for a large. 

The Island Classic

I ordered the most popular dish on the menu, "The Island Classic," which consisted of ahi tuna, sweet onion, shoyu sauce (which tasted like soy sauce), green onions, masago, seaweed salad, radish, tuxedo sesame seeds, wonton chips and furikake (a Japanese seasoning) on jasmine rice. Yes, I know, that’s a mouthful. Literally. This meal was flavorful — if you don’t have an inviting palate, you should build your own bowl.  

So was it worth $10.95 without tax? I would say for the amount of food you get, yes. If you’re like me and can’t finish a Chipotle bowl, you’re going to need to ask for a to-go lid because you won’t finish this. If you don’t, however, have an acquired taste for fish and choose only a couple of the peculiar toppings, I don’t think it would be worth your wallet. 

Would I go back?

My overall rating of my experience at One Fish Two Fish is four stars out of five. The atmosphere was fun, the service was genuine, the menu was versatile and the Island Classic was rich in flavor. I appreciated the opportunity to try a unique Hawaiian meal, rather than going to one of the hundred pizza places on Franklin Street. Don’t get me wrong, I love pizza, but this was something different.

Because I’m a broke college student, this place won’t be a regular for me. But for the times I’m willing to spend a little, I’ll be back. *queue Arnold Schwarzenegger voice from the Terminator*

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