Monday, March 14, 2011

Loving Hut (Robinson)

R. and I stopped by Loving Hut Saturday night for a quick dinner on our way from the airport to the south side area.  Actually, I was the one who needed a some solid food in my stomach in preparation for some St. Paddy's Day alcohol consumption.  Anyway, Loving Hut is a vegan restaurant that just opened in December and had been on my wish list for a little while.  What I didn't realize until recently is that it is actually an international chain, with locations in Brazil, Hong Kong, Australia, Spain, Mongolia, and many other countries, just to give you a sense of its global reach.  What's interesting, however, is that every restaurant has its own unique menu.  Just for fun (and because I didn't quite buy the "unique menu" spiel at first), I checked out the menus at their Palo Alto location, their Russia location, one of the Toronto locations, and two of the locations in Hong Kong.  And I can verify that the menus are indeed completely different - yes, even the two in Hong Kong are different from one another.  So, while Loving Hut is run by an international group, I don't think of it as a chain at all.

Loving Hut Special Rolls ($4.95)
I had heard good things about the Loving Hut Special Rolls from the Binge! Eating in Pittsburgh blog so I had to try it.  And I'd have to agree with Jake who authors the Binge! blog.  These rolls, made with vermicelli, mint, and tofu with a soybean, pineapple, and peanut dipping sauce, were really well done.  I tend to think that one important aspect of a good roll is the texture.  These rolls have a nice, creative combination of flavors with the right amount of crunchiness.  Everything tasted fresh.

As for my main dish, I was going to order something else until I spotted the Guru Curry on the specials menu, which came with a choice of soy protein, potatoes, or taro.  
Taro?!  YES, PLEASE!  But when I placed my order, the waitress informed me that they did not have taro.  I was probably a little more visibly and vocally disappointed than I meant to be - well, taro was the only reason I wanted the Guru Curry after all - but guess what?  The waitress said she'd check with the kitchen and - surprise, surprise! - taro magically appeared.  OK, I don't mean to be cynical, but anytime a restaurant tells me they're out of something, I tend to be a bit skeptical (maybe it's because I've read this recently - see #4).

Guru Curry ($9.95)
They ended up putting both taro and potatoes into the Guru Curry for me.  I have a feeling they gave me 1/2 taro and 1/2 potatoes rather than a full serving of each, but whatever, I didn't question it.  I was hungry! The Guru Curry did make up for its limited taro with its tastiness.  R., who didn't order anything for himself but nibbled at my food (that's OK, I gave him permission), said he thought the special rolls were great until he tried the Guru Curry.  He couldn't stop eating it!  As a side note, the Palo Alto location also serves an item called the Guru Curry, but it costs $1 less and is made with a different combination of ingredients.

Loving Hut was fantastic, and I'm
 really glad to see a healthy, vegan option in a city known for its not-so-healthy options, in a part of town that's heavily populated with the usual chain restaurants.  Their website for the Pittsburgh location identifies it as "pittsburgh_01," and I hope this means they're planning for locations 02, 03, etc., in da Burgh!  (A girl can dream, can't she?) ;)

Random: I know I've been writing a lot more than I mean to lately.  Now that work has picked up again, and with
many upcoming dining out opportunities, I may have to scale back on the amount of text I write in each post and put the focus back on the photos, like I originally intended.  Thanks for reading!

Restaurant info:
Loving Hut Pittsburgh
5474 Campbells Run Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15205
(412) 787-2727

Loving Hut on Urbanspoon