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Restaurants

Hue's Kitchen

Posted by Devon Scoble / Reviewed on July 26, 2009 / review policy

Hue's Kitchen TorontoHue's Kitchen is the kind of place I used to love, back when I had just started hanging out in Toronto, and still thought that Yonge and Bloor was the city's epicenter of cool. In those days, Sam the Record Man was the place to go for music, the Village was a great spot (for me, a straight girl) to meet guys, the corner of Yonge and Dundas was under perennial construction, and places like Ginger and Spring Rolls represented the exotic and delicious world of southeast Asian cuisine. Years ago, when Hue's was a full service restaurant, and called Saigon Sister, a waitress told me that Woody Harrelson had just hosted his TIFF party there. So cool!

Flash forward 11 years into the future - four spent in Asia, the rest frequenting pho joints on Spadina and Ossington - and my tastes have grown a little more particular. I still eat at quick-service Ginger from time to time, and while I recognize it's not the best Southeast Asian food the city has to offer, it'll do in a pinch. Hue's Kitchen, across the street from the Yonge/Bloor location of Ginger, is pretty much the same deal, but with slightly smaller portions and better d├ęcor.Hue's Kitchen

Keeping the soothing wood panels and verdant back patio from its Saigon Sister days, Hue's offers a more serene environment than your average fast-food joint. Somewhat incongruent with the Zen-like ambiance, a self-serve counter provides extras likes Sriracha and hoisin sauce, lime wedges and serviettes, while numbered signs help busboys deliver meals quickly.

Hue's KitchenI ate at Hue's twice last week, ordering the vermicelli chicken with salad and spring rolls and the mango salad and avocado-crab fresh roll respectively. The fact that the vermicelli chicken bowl was listed in the "Authentic" category of the menu really appealed to my culinary snobbery. Unfortunately, the flavours did not. Soaked in a superfluity of flavourless sauce, this vermicelli had the right composition (noodles carrots, bean sprouts, mint and a side of spring rolls), but was missing the fishy zing of a genuinely tasty Vietnamese vermicelli. Plus, it had WAY too much sauce.

The mango salad was better, with mangoes neither too green nor too ripe; the fruit riding that fine balance between sweet/soft and tangy/crunchy. Topped with peanuts and crisp sesame-rice crackers, this mild salad benefited well from a hefty dose of self-administered Sriracha sauce.

Mushy avocado and crab rolls were less impressive: the avocado was browning, the iceberg lettuce was wilty, and the hoisin/peanut dipping sauce, tasting like it came straight from the bottle, won top prize for freshest ingredient.Hue's Kitchen

Hue's can't hold a candle to places like Pho Hung, Pho Tien Thanh or Golden Turtle, but it compares more or less equally with Ginger. Although underwhelmed by my meals, I appreciate Hue's Kitchen for what it is: a quick, no-hassle spot to grab a cheap and moderately healthy meal. It also gets bonus points for atmosphere, and the sunny back patio, a lovely place to sit and daydream about days gone by....Hue's Kitchen

Discussion

12 Comments

Jordan M. / July 27, 2009 at 11:15 am
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While you do have a point about Hue's excessive use of sauce in their dishes, they do have quite the ensemble of food to try other than pho and other vietnamese food: Indian, Thai. The butter chicken roti is amazing wrapped in the naan which is also very good to boot. Your review is incomplete and doesn't fully exemplify the greatness of Hue's kitchen
Sasha replying to a comment from Jordan M. / July 27, 2009 at 03:46 pm
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We all have different tastes.
To each their own. To Boot???
Mike / July 27, 2009 at 07:20 pm
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A somewhat negative review? on Blogto? Amazing.
Jordan M / July 28, 2009 at 09:47 am
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I understand that we all have different tastes; the fact that we do is not the issue at hand. How can you do a review and only try two meals out of the plethora of diverse dishes available at Hue's?
Jason / August 21, 2009 at 10:57 am
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What I appreciate about Devon's reviews is that they are honest. She admits that her tastes are more particular after her experiences living in Asia and eating at more authentic Pho joints, she critiques the food on taste and gives the restaurant points for its patio. Having read the review, I know that if I'm in the Bloor-Yonge area and want to escape to a comfortable back patio, Hue's is an option, but don't expect Vietnamese food comparable to Golden Turtle. Great review.
Jason replying to a comment from Jordan M / August 21, 2009 at 11:09 am
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>@ Jordan M wrote: How can you do a review and only try two meals out of the plethora of diverse >dishes available at Hue's?

I don't think the reviewer's job is to try every dish on the menu of a place he/she is reviewing - this isn't an audit - but rather to sample the fare and provide as objective a view as possible on what he or she sampled and the context in which it was sampled. The reader is left to make his or her own choices based on the review.

The problem with a lot of reviews, I find, is that they take as a benchmark a really great place and compare everything else to that place. That's not a terribly helpful perspective unless you're trying to decide whether to go to the great place or the reviewed place. What if you're not trying to go to the great place? What if you're trying to decide where to go near Yonge-Bloor?
DJS / April 10, 2010 at 08:47 pm
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I just got back from dinner at Hue's Kitchen at Yonge and Bloor... it was just what I was looking for. Super cheap, filling Asian food. $10.50 for a large shrimp pad thai, drink and tip. Yes, it doesn't compare to the superior Spring Rolls across the street, but until I can afford better I've found a new favourite restaurant
Brandon / October 8, 2010 at 01:56 pm
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This was hands down the worst dining experience of my life (October 8th, 2010). I went for lunch with a group of my coworkers, and we all ordered together.

Appetizers came and everyone enjoyed some spring rolls. Unfortunately that is where the dining experience turned for the worse. While the tables food began to roll out, it donned on me that I had yet to receive my drink I had ordered. I informed the waitress (if you want to call them that) and she told me it would be right out. My coworkers were hesitant to begin their meals because guess what? I didn't receive my food either.

I complained to the same waitress again that I had still yet to receive my drink, and now my food was also not present. She went into the back to check, and came back out to deliver food to another table. When I asked to speak to a manager I was told "It's lunch, it's busy"...until I had to raise my voice to indicate I didn't care about the nightmare that their organization is...at which point I was directed to a nasty woman in the kitchen.

After informing her that I had yet to receive my drink or food order, and that I felt their lack of concern was a complete joke, she told me...."It's lunch, it's busy". I replied that I didn't care what time of day it was, when someone orders food you have to deliver it...despite the fact that their are other people in the restaurant. It was at this point that she began yelling at me in a foreign language. I said: "It is absolutely ludicrous that you would speak to a customer like this, let alone a customer that you had yet to serve. Keep your food, keep your drink, I am not paying for the chicken rolls I had". Having little effect, she turned back around and began working again.

I sit now, at my desk, without any food in me, writing a desperate plea to all willing to listen that you should NEVER reward these people with your business again. They do not appreciate anyones business, and they are not willing to correct their own errors.

Shame on you Hue's Kitchen, your managers and staff should be absolutely appalled by how poorly you operate.

For your own sake, DO NOT GO TO HUE'S KITCHEN!
TR / May 16, 2011 at 10:17 pm
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I just ate there today.

The service was pretty fast and the food was good. And above all the waitress was really nice and friendly.

I'd probably go there again soon!
Priyanka / December 16, 2011 at 05:53 am
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I have been to Hue's Kitchen twice (last visit a few weeks ago). The decor is SO nice and the place gets bonus points for ambiance. For me, a restaurant has to have at least 2 of the following: Delicious food, good/prompt service and nice, clean interior. This place mostly has it.

Having said that, I am not too crazy about the Wonton soup I tried. The broth lacked depth. I'm used to more flavourful (heavier, if you will) wonton soups. They also forgot the shrimp on my husband's Chicken-Beef-Shrimp Rice platter. We ordered the same thing, so I'm not quite clear how they missed the shrimp on his. We didn't complain, we were just out to have a good day and didn't wanna let it affect any of it.

To be fair, service was good/friendly and I found their dishes to be less salty than Salad King's (Ryerson area). Plus I loved the White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake (by The Cheesecake Factory).


Will I go back? Yes. In fact I will be in the area later this week and might drop by. Will update the review then :)

K replying to a comment from Brandon / January 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm
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I'm sorry you had a bad experience (I haven't been to Hue's yet) but I have to say: they might have bad service but man oh man you sound like the customer from hell. If you haven't yet, I hope you work as a server someday. Sometimes things go wrong in the kitchen and, while they probably should have been more apologetic, the lunch rush on Yonge street is pretty serious and throwing a temper tantrum and storming out did nobody any good. There are way more constructive ways of dealing with bad service.
Sean / December 18, 2012 at 08:27 am
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Inspected on: December 10, 2012
Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional Pass)
Number of infractions: 7 (Minor: 4, Significant: 2, Crucial: 1)
Crucial infractions include: Inadequate food temperature control

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