26 February 2011

Loving Hut

Loving Hut, a large vegan restaurant chain, opened its first Central Ohio location in Reynoldsburg today. The menu is being finalized, and a grand opening is scheduled sometime in the next month.

Upon first examination, Loving Hut's affiliation with spirituality made me a bit apprehensive. It is part of the Ching Hai empire, and she is called the Supreme Master.

When I think of the master, I was somewhat certain that "Bruce" Leroy Green was the master, and he proved this by taking down Sho'nuff, the Shogun of Harlem near the end of Last Dragon.

Luckily enough, the Loving Hut Supreme Master was not obtrusive (unlike Sho'nuff in the video link in the last paragraph). Sure, Supreme Master TV was playing on the flat screen (it is channel 8067 on DirecTV, I would imagine). From the parts of the programming I caught, the Supreme Master is a big fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber-style love ballads, many of which she wrote herself. When the barely noticeable proselytizing was combined with my not-so-secret devotion to show tunes, it all made the experience interesting yet inoffensive.

The decor at Loving Hut highlights vegetarians in history and pop culture. Vegetarian cookbooks fill the dining rooms. The restaurant is much bigger than it appears from the parking lot with two rooms folded into an L-shaped portion of Blacklick Plaza in Reynoldsburg.

While the menu is still rounding into shape, it will feature Pan-Asian dishes as well as American comfort food classics like the veggie burger and a BBQ sandwich. Many items on the menu are made with TVP or other kinds of faux meat products. There are salads and other items made without these ingredients for diners filled with veggie meat trepidation. I possess little fear of TVP.

Prices at Loving Hut are fairly inexpensive. $10 is probably an average order. $15 means you're taking food home.

What I ate: The spring rolls were stuffed with cabbage, carrots and mushrooms, fried crispy and served with sweet and sour sauce. Cilantro adds a fresh touch to this take-out staple.

The pho was a great veggie approximation of the Vietnamese wintertime staple. A mushroom broth is flecked with green onions, cilantro and basil as well as a heaping helping of textured protein, noodles and bean sprouts. The citrus garnish is textbook, and the vegan pho should be a great relief for cold weather as long as it lasts this year.

The BBQ sandwich was awesome. The creamy coleslaw was a great foil to the sweet sauce-covered TVP. The fries were thick and of passable quality.

The smoothies are thick. The blueberry banana smoothie was redolent of both fruits. Loving Hut serves smoothies, teas, coffee, water and no alcoholic beverages.

Loving Hut adds an interesting option to East and Southeast side residents that don't have a go-to vegan or vegetarian restaurant that comes to mind. Residents of other parts of the city will have to visit the international vegan fast casual restaurant on a destination trip or while passing through town.

Loving Hut

Loving Hut on Urbanspoon


Priya said...

Hi Jared,

I agree about the unobtrusiveness of the Supreme Master TV, despite my sitting right next to the TV screen.

I'm looking forward to the Grand Opening next month. I imagine I'll be dining there often in 2011, even though I live in the opposite end of town, in Dublin.

Thanks again for writing such excellent reviews of veg-friendly restaurants. I rely on your blog heavily when deciding where to dine. It was nice meeting you.


Tracy said...

Hi Jared.
My friend Priya sent me to your blog. Thanks for the write up and pics. Did you know if they are opened 7 days a week? Also do you their hours of operation? Thanks!

deraj1013 said...

Plans are to be open seven days a week from 11 am to 9 pm, although since they are soft opening now, you might want to call first. I have their number, and I'll post it later.

And it was nice to meet you as well, Priya. It's always good to put a face to a name.

Anonymous said...

I had a great experience too and the food was shockingly tasty for it's first day. So much for having to live off fast-food fries and salads on the East side now as a Vegan on-the-go :) I am so happy for their arrival.

p.s. I just found this video from Dr. Will Tuttle on youtube about them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeYzR0puYNQ

Way to go Loving Hut staff whomever you are. -JoJo

Bob Bush said...

We just visited the Loving Hut today and found the food to be fantastic. It was laid back and we had a wonderful time. We even got carry out for our evening meal.