Loving Hut opened last week in
The food has a delicate to robust Asian influence with items derived from
, Vietnamese “pho”, Japanese teriyaki, Chinese stir fries and Indian curries. There’s also a bean burrito, veggie hamburger and well over seventy different lunch and dinner items. Everything is vegan, that is, free of animal derived ingredients. Lissome vegan Dee Nguyen was our server, as big as a minute, and spicy as the dipping sauce. Her recommendations are “spot on.” Thai dishes
The prices are easy on the wallet, with most lunches less than $8, and most dinners under $11. Portions are generous. I recommend starting with spring rolls ($4), which are delicate and crunchy-fresh, with rice paper rolls filled with steamed jicama, toju, carrot, cilantro, lettuce and noodle, served with peanut sauce.
The former site of Tre Fratellis,’ and a Kenny Rodgers Roasters before that, has been nicely decorated with inviting beige and off white tones, accented by colorful orchids in the windows. The food and service are enjoyable. While other
spots serve just a few vegetarian and vegan foods, this is the first to offer a very large selection of over seventy, yes, 70 vegan items! There’s Thai-style papaya and carrot salad ($7), Chinese-style Loving Hut mu shu (7), Indian curry bowl (8), and Vietnamese pho bowl (8). From the Collier County New World, there’s Mexican seven levels burrito (7), BBQ-roll (6), and a soy hamburger patty with vegan mayo, onions, lettuce and tomato (8).
My two professional tasters enjoyed all of the items selected, and they can be a picky pair. We verified that Loving Hut is family friendly with prices, quantity and quality.
The owners note that while nearly all items are organic, because perhaps 1% has yet to be sourced as organic, they do not want to lay claim to “organic” until that 100% point. That is welcome integrity. It is a far cry from some restaurants in
who “offer organic when available”, and it is often less than 5% in actual purchasing. Naples
The two tables of customers to my left and right had been there earlier for lunch, and came back to try more for dinner! How many restaurants does that happen at for you? A good sign for success of a vegetarian or vegan spot is how many omnivores choose to return. I recommend starting with an order of spring rolls ($6), crunchy with jicama, tofu, carrot and cilantro, wrapped in tender rice paper and served with a rich peanut sauce or if requested, a lighter, vinegary sweet and sour sauce. The combination is as light as springtime-refreshing!
The Crispy golden rolls, four for $4.50, are a slender traditional crisply fried roll filled with vegetables and soy protein.
Spicy Cha Cha ($11) is yam paste crescents, battered and lightly fried, served with bell pepper, onion, celery and lettuce. My twin tasters were sure they were shrimp by the curved shape and the light batter! It has a mild to moderate heat/spiciness. Our shared plate was quickly emptied!
Golden Beauty ($12) has a nice Vietnamese twist, with soy protein crisply fried with lemongrass and spices, and served with fresh tomato, cucumber, zucchini and carrot, with jicama slices marinated with vinegar and sugar. It is medium spiced and tastes great!
Co-owner Brenna Tu, happily explained the concept. Loving Hut is a branch of an international vegan movement (suprememaster.tv) that seeks ways for all to live peaceably. The Loving Hut is an extension of Supreme Master Ching Hai’s Buddhist based beliefs and healthy vegan eating choices. They strive to “leave a small carbon footprint” with not only the healthy vega foods offered, but also by eating foods that use less fertilizers, shipping, and overall use of oil. Recycling is important. There are over twenty franchises in the
, and numerous ones worldwide. With their motto of “Go veg, be green, save the planet, ” they are off to a tasty start. USA