It is located in a tiny strip mall along with a tattoo parlor and some type of formal wear store. It’s located along a one way stretch of road so you are glad to finally pull in, most parking is in the back.
Walking into the Loving Hut you immediately get the impression that it is directly linked to a religious following, it is. All Loving Huts are owned by The Quan Yin Method, their supreme master Ching Hai’s photographs are seasoned throughout the restaurant. Jim and I are secure in our religious beliefs so even if the napkins came out as recruitment papers we wouldn’t be swayed. We were glad the food was vegan.
What did bother me was the large tank of fish that decorated the length of the front window. How was it that the gouramis in the tank could be enslaved? The Quan Yin Method followers refrain from: taking the life of sentient beings, from speaking what is not true, from taking what is not offered, from sexual misconduct and from the use of intoxicants. I guess the owners of Loving Hut in Ledgewood feel the gouramis offered up their freedom and they didn’t take it from them.
I usually have to overlook a lot more than trapped gouramis and religious leader’s booklets when I go out to eat. At least the fish weren’t sizzling on a plate beside me. We eagerly looked over the menu and decided to start by splitting some Nori Stars.
The Nori Stars, 8 pieces, were very hearty with their dense brown rice. The centers held slivers of fresh carrot, avocado and tofu. A shallow bowl of thick soy sauce came on the side. It was all very good but I missed some wasabi (it was supposed to have wasabi) and pickled ginger.
Jim got an order of Golden Charm and I got Spicy Cha-cha. They were similar except for the textured proteins – mine was breaded and something like vegetarian shrimps and Jim’s was soy chicken-esque. Both came mixed into red and green bell peppers and onions that weren’t over-cooked. Imagine the protein hunks and veggies all tossed with a grainy Mrs. Dash type seasoning and presented with a big serving of dense brown rice and some steamed veggies (mine came with a lime wedge).The entrées were fine, a little heavy and weren’t spicy at all in spite of having little hot peppers beside the name in the menu to designate spicy, neither were. Both were supposed to come with jalepeños, neither did.
All of the portions were generous and we got most of our meals to take away with us. The meals came very quickly and the waiter was attentive and courteous. We also enjoyed a couple of specialty beverages, a Go Green Delight (with 7up and mint) and a Peaceful Pink (with cranberry, lemon and soy milk).
The big tv in the dining area had the sound off but was constantly broadcasting ads and dance numbers that were all related to The Quan Yin Method. Along with the giant soda refrigerator, it was a tiny bit surreal.
I shouldn’t be officially reviewing this restaurant because it is an international chain. It is also 100% vegan and I think that, for perspective, it’s important to see how it stacks up against some places that are just vegetarian friendly.
I am sure that lots of families come and enjoy the meals there, it’s not family unfriendly. The main part of all of their menu items is geared toward meat-like substitutes. They flat out state that they offer “an accessible starting point for those making the noble transition to a plant based diet.” That’s fine but it doesn’t all have to be overly dense and poorly seasoned.
The blatant proselytising isn’t something I would want to dine amidst for many meals, it’s almost creepy. I am glad Loving Hut is a vegan chain but the place is a single star above average.