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Baby Tuna Poki & Pho Now Open in Saugus

Sometimes you want poke, sometimes you want pho, and sometimes you want sushi but sometimes your friends don’t like raw fish so they’ll want something cooked. Thanks to Baby Tuna Poki & Pho you can get it all under one roof.

When the signs first went up in the Ross shopping center on Bouquet, people were confused. Was it a second Baby Tuna Sushi location? Was it something completely different? Well, it is actually a sort of hybrid sushi restaurant, I suppose that’s the best way to describe it.

Sushi Chef Jimmy, a recognizable face behind the sushi bar at Baby Tuna Tesoro, is behind the glass at Baby Tuna Poke & Pho, and that’s a good thing.

The first thing you need to know, is that this place is very small. And as it becomes busier I anticipate wait times, so be prepared for that. The next thing you need to know is that this place is much more than just poke and/or pho. They have a little bit of everything, and while I’m usually weary of places that spread themselves too thin, it fits their purpose. They wanted to create a space where you could go with friends and everyone could find something to order that suited their craving, even if you happen to want beef with broccoli.

The pho is clearly the big draw, as the chefs expertly prepared bowl after bowl after bowl of pho. It is brought to the table with the usual toppings on the side, so you can prepare it exactly how you like it.

There is a whole page devoted to poke (they spell it poki) which is served over rice or salad. I ordered the Lisa Special (of course) because it had my favorite: soft shell crab. It was everything. Fresh fish, perfectly fried whole crab, and a lot of flavor thanks to the sauces. I used to get deep fried soft shell crab at Maru all the time, and it had been a very long time since I had a good version of it. Combined with the freshness of the fish, it was fantastic.

Poki #L1 Sweet Lisa Special – salmon, tuna, yellowtail, albacore, scallop, deep fried soft shell crab, hot Hawaiian, and eel sauce.

And if you decide to go to dinner with a friend that doesn’t like raw fish, they have cooked items as well. The beef with broccoli is served with miso soup (flavorless, not great), salad, and rice.

If pho and poke isn’t enough, they have sushi too, although the selection is more limited than at Baby Tuna, of course. The sushi section of the kitchen is also much smaller, but still behind a clear glass so you can see the action.

In fact, most of the kitchen is exposed to diners, which works in a small space like this.

I truly enjoyed Baby Tuna Poki & Pho. It is the same sushi I have come to expect from Baby Tuna, but the poke and pho are the clear standouts.

There are some negatives though. The service left a lot to be desired. We were a party of three, and the pho didn’t come to the table until long after we were done with our meals. So we ordered sushi to eat while our friend finally got her pho.

Getting the check took some time as well, and as the place gets busier I hope they figure out a better system in regards to running food out and times. The pho was cold, and my friend remarked that the same thing happened last time she ate there. Out of the three of us, I was the only one that really loved this place.

It will be interesting to see how this place is received in Santa Clarita. I know I’ll be a regular for the Sweet Lisa Special.

They are currently in a soft opening phase.

Baby Tuna Poki & Pho is located at 26580 Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus (Ross shopping center).