I know people adore Loving Hut but I’m still determining if I’m going to have the same relationship with the vegan restaurant chain that serves Asian style food in over 40 locations in the U.S. and 200 outlets worldwide. My first time I sampling the food was in Seattle and I remember it being pretty good. So, I called up my omnivore Aunty and invited her to lunch at the Pensacola St. location.
Me: Aunty, do you want to go to lunch?
Aunty: Where? (always suspect I’m taking her somewhere plant based)
Me: Asian food
As we walked thru the front door of the small restaurant, my Aunt notices the big Vegan sign and says “You tricked me! You said we were going to eat Chinese food!” “No Aunty,” I say ” I said Asian food and this is!”
We shared a plate of Crispy Golden Rolls which seemed to put her at ease. If I ever go back, I’ll be ordering these ( see pic).
After a lot of deliberation, she ordered the Pho ( soup) which was very heavy flavored with star anise. Instead of the usual tendons and tripe, it’s served with seitan, tofu and a plate of accouterments to top the soup. Her rating on a scale of 1-10 was only a two.
I decided to have the Sea Vegetable Salad which finally arrived at the table a solid 10 minutes after the other people at my table got their soup. My hope was that it would be worth the wait, but it was a bit of a let down. The salad is pretty looking since they use a variety of seaweeds besides wakame but the dressing was flat and tasteless. I did bring it home to try and doctor it up, but what they served me was basically a pile of seaweed with a few cucumbers and not much else.
I read on their website :
Q: Why are the menus different at every Loving Hut?
A: Every city is unique, and thus we believe in giving our Loving Huts’ chefs the freedom to create great local dishes and entrées. We want to bring out the best of all cultures and show that vegan dishes are not only healthy but great tasting too.
Which would also explain why the food can be super tasty at one location and bland beyond belief at another. On the up side, the staff is friendly and accommodating.
So my second visit at a Loving Hut was just “meh” but I still give them a six on a scale of 1-10 because I am happy to support a restaurant serving plant based food. I think if I go back I’ll try a sandwich or a smoothie…
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