For those who want a bowl of fresh poké on the go…RELEASE THE KRAKEN…LAB

By: Jennifer Barrios
Location:  Upper Buena Vista
Address: 5026 NE 2nd Ave Miami, FL 33137
Meal type:  Lunch, Snack, Dinner
Cuisine: Poke & Japanese Fusion
Ambiance: Casual
Background Music: Tiki Tiki techno music
What to wear:  Whether you’re suited up and going during the lunch rush or sporting your yoga pants after a gym sesh, anything goes.

What to expect: 

You can expect a fresh and guilt-free meal from this casual spinoff brought to you by the same owners of Kraken Crudo. Instead of sushi rolls, this new concept focuses on customized bowls and cones you can take on the go. The interior is minimalistic with white retro bar stools, a wood counter that overlooks the kitchen prep area, and a mural of an octopus contrasting the bold red walls. Take a look outside the floor to ceiling windows and you’ll see the village oasis of newly opened Upper Buena Vista.

The Menu: 

The menu is pretty straightforward but still offers a wide variety and level of customization that is sure to please both the vegans and pescatarians of the group. While the restaurant is Japanese inspired, you won’t find any sushi on the menu because the focus is on uniquely crafted bowls. When it comes to the bowls, you can keep it simple and order from the list of “Lab Creations” or get faaaancy and make your own. If you’re making your own bowl, YOU GOT OPTIONS. Choose your base, a protein, six toppings, two garnishes, and sauce. You know we love our salsita so we did a mix of a few.

What to order: 

Spicy Tuna Cone: We recommend you start your meal with this tasty handheld treat. A crunchy cone filled with fresh tuna and topped with colorful greens. It’s the perfect snack to eat while you wait for your bowl to be made.

Salmon Heat Bowl: We took the restaurant’s recommendation on this one and we are SO HAPPY we did. This bowl is a top-seller with baked salmon, avocado, chives, jalapeno, garlic chips, masago, edamame and miso dressing. We’re trying to keep this summer bod so we opted for cauliflower rice as the base.

Miso Crème Brûlée: This unique take on a classic dessert was the right way to end our flavor-packed meal. Chef brought out the torch to get that crispy texture on top of this creamy dessert. Size is small enough to finish on your own without feeling guilty but also good for sharing with someone else.

Off the menu: Don’t forget to ask about their daily special juice – they always have a refreshing option to accompany your meal!

How to score a table:  Restaurant is pretty small so if you’re there during the busy lunch rush we suggest you take your meal to go and enjoy at one of the outdoor tables inside the new Upper Buena Vista marketplace. If the lunch crowd isn’t for you, there’s always Postmates and Grubhub.