Hue is "pho" real
October is the fourth-annual Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delicious features, chef profiles, unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2010."
It's a good thing I'm forcing myself to exercise these days, because OnMilwaukee.com's Dining Month has been a heck of an excuse for me to eat really, really well in October.
My latest journey took me to Hue, 2691 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., which is, to the best of my knowledge, the first Vietnamese restaurant in the Bay View neighborhood.
And it's a wonderful addition.
Of all the Asian food I've eaten over the years, I'm least familiar with Vietnamese cuisine, but Hue makes the best I've ever had. On Friday, I ordered the Bun Thit Nuong beef, which is charbroiled, lemongrass-marinated beef over white vermicelli noodles, mixed with lettuce, mint and more. For $8.50, it was delicious.
My wife ordered the Bún Chay Vegetarian: fried tofu with ginger and garlic marinade over the same noodle mix for the same price. I took a taste of hers, and it was equally light, fresh and tasty.
We shared the Goi Cuon spring rolls as appetizers, too, and left just short of stuffed. In my limited experience, Vietnamese feels a little less heavy than Thai, and much less salty and starchy than Chinese.
Next time I visit, I'll try the pho. And believe me, there will be a next time.
My neighborhood needed a place like Hue, and based on the traffic Friday night, my neighbors agree, too.
The atmosphere at Hue is casual but stylish, interesting colors mixed with bamboos and light woods. One of the owners, Carina Tran, is the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants; the other, Mark Nielsen, isn't Asian -- so diners who might be intimidated by an extremely authentic experience need not be concerned. This is an approachable restaurant for anyone.
Missyb - I think you're missing his point. As a person that has never eaten Vietnamese food before, the idea of simply walking into Hue, sitting down and ordering would be much too intimidating for me. Yes, I realize this may be a personal flaw, but it's how (I think) most people are about new foods. Knowing that the writer felt at ease walking in and ordering anything, makes me feel a little more comfortable as well. I think I will try them tonight!
All this sounds great. What made me cringe though, was your comment about not having to "fear authentic Vietnamese food". Oy. It's just another form of "otherizing" different cultures. We should applaud restaurants open by natives of any country. Who needs a Chinese restaurant that serves hamburgers? This isn't an authentic experience. I challenge your perspective that watered down is better, tastier, or less scary. We need open-minded, open-pallet(ed) food critiques, not ones that push the agenda that other cultures are weird or scary.
FANTASTIC!...great bartender (Tim) and great owners make for a great place to eat...have to have the pho for the real experience...bring an appetite.
Man, the pho is really good. It is really filling but still light. I have been a few times and I always leave satisfied.
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