Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Loving Hut

hut001The latest addition to the Loving Hut chain has opened in Falls Church, and they are serving up Asian food favorites with none of the guilt.

hut001The latest addition to the Loving Hut chain has opened in Falls Church, and they are serving up Asian food favorites with none of the guilt.

The newly opened store joins the chain’s more than 40 restaurants across the nation which offer a completely vegan menu and ask their patrons to “be veg, go green.” And in doing so, patrons can join the various celebrities who have sworn off all meat products whose pictures adorn the restaurant’s walls: Erykah Badu, Shania Twain, and even former President Bill Clinton.

Despite the numerous pairs of watching eyes from these framed photos, the restaurant is serene. The large dining room is filled with simple white chairs and tables, set against the taupe and cream of the walls that bear messages about the restaurant’s healthy and environmentally conscious philosophy. Music playing from two large televisions mounted on facing walls further lulls diners into a meditative state.

The menu is compact, but offers all of the Asian food favorites – appetizer rolls, wonton soup, fried rice dishes – leaning in the direction of Vietnamese cuisine. And without the expense of meat, Loving Hut can serve up these dishes for no more than $8, making the restaurant not only eco-friendly and health-friendly, but also wallet-friendly.

The deep fried wontons, at $5 for six, are a must-have appetizer. Within perfectly crispy wheat wraps, soy protein and mushroom come together for a delightfully savory treat. Another good pick on the appetizer menu is the summer roll, which combines lettuce, mint and cucumber in a chewy rice paper wrapper along with vegan seafood. While the shrimp-painted pieces of soy leave much to be desired in terms of taste and texture, the mint and vegetables combine for a very fresh taste and satisfying crunch.hut002

The entrée menu features rice dishes, noodle dishes, and sandwiches, and diners should look no further than the first item on the menu – the golden vermicelli – for the best entrée pick. The dish is served in a large bowl, with vermicelli, vegetables, and barbecue soy protein served alongside vegetable- and soy-stuffed spring rolls. The star of the show is the soy protein, formed to look like strips of beef, which is flavorful and close enough in taste and texture to its model to arouse suspicion. The mixed rice dishes are flavorful and well made, but unsurprising. For a bit of fun at an incredible value, the $3 Aulacese sandwich and the $4 barbecue baguette are good picks, pairing vegetables and meat substitutes with vegan sauces inside sliced long, crunchy baguettes. As a special, the restaurant will even cook up a vegan burger and fries for diners looking for all-American fare.

And in a restaurant that praises the delicious powers of fruits and vegetables, the extensive drink menu is no surprise, featuring deliciously rich smoothies, bubble teas and juices. But if a smoothie isn’t enough to satisfy a diner’s sweet tooth, the dessert menu offers only one option – vegan cheesecake – to get the job done.

Despite some disappointing meat substitutes, Loving Hut is an excellent spot for diners who appreciate the taste of fresh, well-cooked vegetables and starches, as well as for customers looking to stretch their dollar. And with low costs, healthy foods, and a low environmental impact, diners can enjoy their meal without remorse.

Loving Hut is located at 2842 Rogers Drive, Falls Church. For more information, call 703-942-5622 or visit Restaurant hours are Monday – Sunday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.