What has not been written about this restaurant? Or should I ask, which publication has not showered this restaurant with their coveted titles? Since its opening, I am going to venture out and say that if a restaurant related publication did not do an article on this place they were not with the in crowd. It is then safe to say that all of Hue’s kitchen sink is public knowledge.
If memory, oh let me go do some reading, serves me right Hue opened with such grandeur and panache that it was the place to be and be seen. This was a destination restaurant before Thornton Park was, well Thornton Park. The revitalization of this area of downtown was balanced on the shoulders of Hue. It is now the Don Corleone of all the little splatterings coming up.
With its very forward and modernist décor, Hue captivated and lured the whos of who from all over the place. The old adage location, location, location comes to mind. Have you actually been here? It is located smack dab in the middle of the world, oh Thornton Park. The large patio is ideal for people watching, or is it for people watchers? Although, several times that I’ve pretended to be the in crowd, there was always a homeless person trying to get something or offer something that was not on the menu, if you get my drift. The back room is majestic or at least the very high ceilings and grand wall art makes the small floor space seem large. Although tables are rather closely bunched, there is still a sense of space and comfort. Along the half circled bar many a star power figure have leaned. I remember sometime back when I lived downtown, I would walk by here just to get a glimpse of the pretty people. Oh and the eye candy was worth it.
Hue, named after a fishing village in Vietnam, opened with a menu leaning towards its name, Asian. Fast forward today and the menu has made a turn towards modern American. Gone are all the Asian spices and references. Spring rolls and soy sauce based dressings are ancient history. Enter a fresh modern approach to the Orlando dining scene of “Eat Drink and Be Local”. They even go so far as to put this slogan on their wine glasses. That is some serious commitment.
Basket of Fresh Bread – Various different textures and tastes all encompassing a good hearthy start.
Lobster Bisque – Creamy and rich. Tiny bits of lobster was a nice touch.
Duck a la Orange Sandwich – Tender slices of duck meat, with a well balanced orange sauce between rustic slices of bread. Bread was a little on the softer side for a sandwich but this combination did not last long on the plate. Tip: Eat fast or your dining companion will grab a piece.
Tuna Two Ways – Seared Tuna was nicely done with a slightly sweet sauce, Tuna Tartare was a combination of balanced flavors, Greens were crisp and fresh. Nice dish.
White Knight Viognier – Crisp, citrus flavors, with great grassy nose and a slightly lingering finish. Great alternative to Chardonay, very food friendly.
Restaurants that can look ahead and foresee that in order to keep up with trends they need to embrace change will always be one step ahead of their peers. Hue has taken that leap and have done it well. There will be pretty people watching and great food grazing for years to come.