Reviews written by Jean-Guille
Registered on Jan 7 11
This place is pretty good, although I admit I have only eaten here about three times. I have sat on the patio each time, maybe I'll try sitting inside one of these days. My favorite dish is the Jackfruit Salad; they do it up right. The location is probably the biggest drawback for me, as I'm just not into the whole Main Street HB thing. What keeps me from rolling here more often is that my wife just isn't a fan of the place.
How this place makes it on to Veg Guide is beyond me. La Salsa, really? Horrible fast food that I wouldnt' eat even if I didn't care about myself.
This is one of the four Loving Huts in my general area, and is my second choice of the four, behind Orange (the best), but ahead of Huntington Beach and Brea. This one is nice enough, but it's a bit of a drive for me, and honestly, Ladera is just a little sterile for my tastes. If you like The Hut, and you're nearby, go for it.
This is an excellent choice for a relaxed, affordable, honest vegan meal that is is lovingly prepared by the Chef, Kim. All ingredients are fresh, and each individual component can be tasted; flavors stand out, spices and seasonings are all well-balanced and thought out. Favorite dishes for me are the Fabulous Pho and the Loving Hut Capers. For an appetitizer, I like the Spring Rolls. The Pendant Leave Cake is a delicious dessert. The menu can be found here--> http://lovinghut.us/huntingtonbeach/menu/menu.html
The space itself is nothing fancy; it is a moderately-sized dining area with about ten tables, located in a strip mall at Brookhurst and Adams in Huntington Beach. It could have formerly been any sort of fast-food place or a tanning salon. The real key here, aside from the outstanding food, is the service, provided by Monica and LoAnn, both of whom really seem to care about providing you with a freshly-prepared vegan meal that you will enjoy, and that will benefit your health and well-being.
The service is friendly and personal. One can order at the counter and be served at your table, or just sit down, and you will get table service. Take out is also available. The quality of the food and the service has earned my repeat business; I eat there frequently. It feels good to support the small business and its family ownership.
On the downside, while I do not mind the Supreme Master Television being broadcast whenever the restaurant is open, I could use a bit less volume. At times it intrudes on my dining experience, other times, it is barely noticeable. The Loving Hut HB is definitely worth a try.
Edit/Update: September 2011. The restaurant has become shabby in appearance, service is poor, and even my beloved Pho now tastes like dishwater. I will not be returning to Loving Hut HB.
Following the downfall of the Loving Hut HB (see my review), we went in search of another option, as we enjoy the menu and affordable pricing of the Loving Hut chain. We tried out the Loving Hut Ladera Ranch, but it is quite a drive, and found it to be good, albeit a bit "whitewashed" (no real surprise given the neighborhood). I will post a review for them when I can. So, off we went to the Loving Hut Orange.
The demographic of the patrons, the locale, and the staff made it immediately apparent that this was a legit spot for vegan Vietnamese food. We ordered Pho, Summer Rolls, and the Spicy Mambo. The pho was flavorful and complex, and the large size bowls were enormous (I will order a small next time). The Summer Rolls were also delicious, with plenty of jicama for crunch. The peanut sauce was thick and delicious, although Mrs. J-G thought it had too much of a hoisin flavor to it. The Spicy Mambo was peppery and flavorful, and is something we will order again. The menu is available here --> http://lovinghut.us/orange/menu/menu.html
Serving sizes were generous, as we took food home (we admittedly over-ordered, wanting to sample several offerings). Service was excellent, as our server was friendly and attentive, but not intrusive.
The space inside was small, consistent in size with the Loving Hut HB, and much smaller than the Ladera Ranch location, but patio seating was available as well, which is a nice option. The ubiquitous Supreme Master TV was on (of course), but at a low volume and was very unobtrusive.
I am giving it four stars after the initial visit, and will update the review and my rating based on future visits and the consistency of the service and the food. The Loving Hut Orange has the potential for five stars, I am just being conservative to begin with.
Edit/Update: After numerous return visits, Loving Hut Orange rates five stars. The Pho is delicious, and the Seafood Noodle Bowl and the Jackfruit Salad are not to be missed. This is my go-to Hut.
There are some things I do not care for about this restaurant. It smells like body odor inside (no idea why), the trendy "yurt" design makes the table seating cramped, and the demographic of the patrons can at times be off-putting. But when the patio is open, the place isn't crowded with lost (and barefoot) souls in search of their self-identity, and the craving strikes for one of my favorite items, I enjoy the occasional meal here. It still isn't my favorite, though.
We have now eaten here a few times, so I thought I would post my review. I really want to love this place, but some of the food just really lacks flavor, and much of it just seems the same. I get that they only use a few select ingredients, trying to keep things simple, and limit the use of salt, but sometimes I need a little more when dining out. I feel like I could make all these dishes at home. The Stand is not a bad option, and we will probably eat here if we are in Laguna, or after a hike, and want a casual vegan meal, but I do not see myself seeking it out when there are other options in Orange County for a more flavorful meal and a nicer dining experience. I am still giving it four stars.
The UCI location is my go-to Veggie Grill. I dined at the Irvine Spectrum location once, and the food there was every bit as good as my location, but two things put the UCI VG over the top. 1) Service: The manager, Ingrid, deserves all the credit here, as this is just a great place to eat. 2) Location: It's much closer to my house, and it's not at that zoo of humanity, the Irvine Spectrum. I'm still giving them both five stars; this is good vegan grub.
I have only eaten here once, as the UCI location is my go-to Veggie Grill. The food here was every bit as good as my location, but two things put the UCI VG over the top. 1) Service: The manager, Ingrid, deserves all the credit here, as this is just a great place to eat. 2) Location: It's much closer to my house, and it's not at that zoo of humanity, the Irvine Spectrum. I'm still giving it five stars.
What can I say about The Wheel that has not already been said? Let me try.
First, the dining experience here is akin to eating in the home of a family member, or good friend, as an invited guest. Victor and Kim are warm and welcoming, and remember your name long after the first introduction. On each visit, Victor will greet you at your table with a clasping handshake, a brief inquiry as to how you are doing, and will close with a sincere thank you for supporting his small family business. He is never obtrusive or loud, and I have never heard any boastful claims, only expressions of gratitude and appreciation. He closes with his trademark, “Vegan power”, but it is always given in a conversational tone. Kim makes small talk for a few minutes when she visits, again, in an effort to personalize your experience. Longtime server May is a wonderful woman who makes our dining experience a real pleasure.
I appreciate that some patrons may prefer an anonymous dining experience, with food simply being brought out to them by faceless, nameless servers, but I do not. I love that the food at The Wheel is being prepared for me, by people who know my face and my name. Additionally, Mrs. J-G and I have recently gone soy-free (exculding tofu), and May and the staff have been gracious and accomodating in making suggestions and substitutions to dishes to help us out.
The atmosphere is soothing and relaxed, and the patrons seem to respect others’ right to a nice dining experience, unlike some veg places where the trendy, lost souls seeking their identity feel the need to impose their will on other diners by wandering in barefoot and conversing loudly during their meal.
On to the food. The menu choices are extensive, and can be found here--> http://www.wheelofliferestaurant.com/menunewitems.html New items are featured regularly, so something fresh is always available to try.
My favorites include the Pineapple Fried Rice, The Green Curry, The Wheel Fresh Spring Rolls, the Pan Fried Spinach Buns, and the Marble Cake for dessert. I have been dining there for years, and have sampled many of their offerings. The soups and curries are amazing.
I am disappointed that a reviewer would be so given to exaggeration as to allege that a dessert was so hard that it could not be penetrated by a fork and that a family member was nearly blinded trying to break off a piece. I also doubt the veracity of the claim of the use of non-vegan ingredients. One only has to know Victor and Kim to agree with my assertion here. I think the rest of the reviews support the good work being done, and the excellent service being given at this restaurant.
I am giving it five stars out of five, for the outstanding service, atmosphere, and because it is my wife’s favorite of our regular vegan restaurants, which does affect me.
Ratings Without Reviews