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Flavor, freshness stand out at Loco Ono

By Nora Tarte
Published: Last Updated on

I wouldn’t say the Reno metro is exactly brimming with Hawaiian fare. It seems this particular cuisine gets skipped over quite a bit, adjacent to some of our other Asian favorites but not quite the same. 

A truly different take on Hawaiian cuisine to those most of us are familiar with stateside, Loco Ono first opened in Reno as Poke King before expanding to Sparks and Midtown. It’s recent rebrand of the Midtown and Prater locations have brought new attention to the counter-serve Hawaiian restaurant.

Located across from Mario’s Portofino, Loco Ono serves hip, fast-casual Hawaiian food including poke bowls, lunch plates and some unexpected gems such as cheeseburgers and French fries. The biggest draw is likely the build-your-own poke where guests get the experience of Chipotle with a completely different cuisine. 

The fresh ingredients make Loco Ono’s poke renditions stand out and the ability to customize makes ordering more fun. Simply start with your base of white rice, brown rice, mixed greens or wonton chips (you can mix and match two if you prefer) and then build out the bowl with mix-ins including onion and masago and toppings such as fresh mango and pineapple, crab salad, avocado and a variety of fresh greens including cucumber, edamame, cilantro and more. 

The generous limits—allowing guests to add up to 12 regular toppings plus five dry toppings—ensure a satisfying bowl. When it comes to the proteins, guests can choose a total of three from the list that boasts shrimp, salmon, spicy tuna, yellowtail, scallops, tofu, tuna and octopus.

Chicken katsu at Loco Ono in Midtown Reno, Nev. Image: Eric Marks / This Is Reno

If you didn’t come for the poke, the lunch plates offer a hot alternative. The Chicken Katsu is a personal favorite with chicken that is both tender and juicy, breaded to perfection with a satisfying crunch. 

A long list of sauces means you can dip your katsu to your pleasure. Plus, the plates come with a side—two heaping mounds of rice. Other options include Loco Moco, Garlic Shrimp and Roast Pork and Gravy, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg on this menu.

The tacos are particularly interesting. Expect Hawaiian fare here, not your traditional taco flavors. Tofu, salmon and kalbi are the three options and instead of a topping of white onion and cilantro, these bad boys come packed with flavorful sauces and flavor combinations we can’t quite name. They certainly aren’t what you’d expect anywhere else and that alone makes them worth trying. 

Finish out your meal with something to sip on. Fountain drinks are available here but if you want to stick with the theme of the meal, we recommend picking up a Matcha Love Tea, Hawaiian Sun, ITOEN Milk Tea, UCC Kona Coffee or another specialty beverage you can’t grab just anywhere.

Poke bowl and chicken katsu at Loco Ono in Midtown Reno, Nev.

Details

1585 S. Virginia St. Reno, Nev. 89502, (775) 453-2174
663 N. McCarran Blvd., Sparks, Nev. 89431, (775) 971-4237
Daily 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Update: This story was updated to reflect a more accurate origin story for Loco Ono.

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