Update: Loving Hut sadly is no more. As of Summer 2017 Loving Hut closed their doors. Buffet, no more. (sigh)
“Loving Hut is created with a vision that all beings can live in peace, love and harmony with each other and the planet. Loving Hut chain restaurants are newly opening around the world. It is an invitation to gourmet cuisine made with wholesome, vegan ingredients, and it offers an accessible starting point for those making the noble transition to a plant-based diet.”
Loving Hut Pittsburgh is one of 120 family owned all-vegan restaurants that span the United States and beyond, and no two are exactly alike. Menus differ at each location as the company encourages innovation from their chefs. Often the end result is a culmination of plant-based Asian fused with colloquial flair. As of Feb 28 there are 36 locations in the United States (with two more on the way).
The primary goal of Loving Hut is to share the vegan diet in multi-faceted forms and flavors, showing the masses that plant-based food is a deep and fulfilling culinary experience.
ecoRDN got hip to Loving Hut by way of a Groupon way back in 2012. To say we were intrigued is an understatement, an all-vegan restaurant in Robinson, are you kidding? We had to check it out! We did and we were blown the F away!
ecoRDN got straight knocked-out by Loving Hut‘s vegan Pho. It did not simply contain a solitary slab of tofu but instead a myriad of plant-based proteins swam lovingly in a huge bowl of fragrant clovey star-anise broth. The pop and fresh mix of slivered lime, bean sprouts and basil cool-mellowed the deep brown steaming broth. Pho is fresh feasting at its best and Loving Hut’s vegan Pho is the freshest!
It took ecoRDN 3 years to get back to Loving Hut and their All-Vegan buffet. A mash-up of Asian and American plant-based delights, with a few nods to Pittsburgh. The spacious dining room was full of various people’s eating together compassionately. Families, groups and solo diners. A beautiful mix of tattoos, a Morbid Angel t-shirt (rules!), “conservative” sweaters and dress shirts. It was awesome to see such a diverse crowd!
Now to the buffet, we couldn’t describe every item on the buffet so here are a few of our favorites* from the day!
*WARNING: further viewing may result in excessive salivation and extreme hunger.
Lucky Lemongrass: a plant-based take on the Vietnamese dish with thin coins of breaded deep-fried soy protein seasoned with lemongrass! Crispy crunchy citrusy awesome.
Lucky Lo Mein: total Umami bomb! Taste the seasoned wok. Wheat noodles and carrot simply stirred to perfection. Take a wok on the wild side.
Kung Pao Tofu: without peanuts the Kung Pao is similar to General Tso’s. Sweet and mildly spicy.
Pittsburgh Charm: sautéed pepper meaty-balls with fried onion, a warming comfort quality like vegan salisbury steak.
Crispy Tofu: holy cheese-like angelic perfection. These breaded deep fried planks took on the flavor and texture of deep fried cheese. Provolone sticks! ecoRDN racked their brains to crack the code, an herby ranch-like seasoning in the breading coupled with the softness of the tofu then deep fried turned these morsels into a golden comfort of carnival delight.
Fabulous Mongolian: a vegan take on Mongolian Steak, ecoRDN went bonkers over this selection. Sautéed strips of seitan and onion in a lush brown gravy bursting with a bouquet of 5-Spice awesomeness. The melange of star-anise, cloves, cinnamon, pepper and fennel provide a rocket of umami flavor to shoot mouths to the gastronomical moon.
Guru Curry: spicy coconut and potato green curry, mellow honest flavors. A humble, soulful curry that walks softly but packs a piquant punch.
The Creamy Broccoli made ecoRDN‘s head spin and mouth water, simply the best broccoli soup ever! A deep buttery flavor helped make this luscious, creamy soup into a perfect bowl of fresh amazing, forever. Who knew broccoli soup could be so inspiring?
Pandan cake: a brand-new treat! Pandan has its origins in Malaysia and Indonesia. Traditionally flavored with Pandanus amaryllifolius leaves which share the smooth flavor of coconut and mildly biting citrus. The chlorophyl from the leaves give the cake it’s distinctive green color traditionally, but it’s not uncommon for cake makers to use food coloring to pop the intense green tone.
ecoRDN Loves Loving Hut and You Should Too! Check out their Saturday buffet, all-you-can-eat* for $14.99!
*Disclaimer: To combat the many plates of plant-based gluttony, ecoRDN walked a total of 9 miles to (somewhat) buffer our epic consumption, however no food was wasted nor animal harmed during the glorious fury of our plant-based buffet get-down.
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Thanks For Reading and Eat Well!