Monday, May 21, 2012

Hue, Orlando, FL

On our recent weekend in Orlando, UD and I decided to "wing it" on Friday night and land for dinner wherever the wind carried us without doing any vetting (which is kind of a fun thing to do occasionally, albeit a crap shoot).  After strolling around downtown and Lake Eola, Hue ultimately reeled us in with its creative menu and lively, inviting outdoor patio.  With a beautiful breeze blowing and a talented classical/jazz guitarist providing the relaxing musical backdrop at a sound level that was just right for enhancing the experience (nothing makes me crankier than having to shriek to be heard when I'm dining), it seemed like the perfect spot.

We arrived around 8:00 and were seated promptly at a lovely outdoor table.  A really outstanding housemade bread assortment with softened herb butter was brought out quickly at our request since I hadn't eaten since breakfast that morning and didn't want my first glass of wine to put me under the table.  I have to say that after that point, while service was professional and informed, it was also painfully slow. We sat without food or wine on a couple of occasions for ten minutes or more before our server appeared.

Golden Lobster Bisque was my starter of choice.  Hue's bisque is of a style I've tasted only a couple of times before...and, while I tried each time to like it, it's simply not my favorite.  Instead of the sweeter, coral-colored and uber-creamy variation which is more common (and the one I adore), the Golden Bisque offered less cream and a more intense shellfish taste...probably attributable to a very reduced and concentrated stock.  I'll blame this one on my redneck palate, but it just wasn't my cup of tea (or lobster bisque)
Our Brie and Cranberry Flatbread brought a well-balanced, savory-to-sweet flavor combo to the table (fresh herbs and caramelized onion nicely offset the tang of the cranberries and mellowness of the brie), but the woefully pale and limp flatbread carrier kept it from reaching its full potential.
My entree selection was the $24 Duck Breast with Cranberry Reduction, English Peas and a Butternut Squash and Amaretto Risotto.  Sadly, while I could certainly grasp the delicious intent here, the medium rare breast I requested was served without a hint of pink remaining.  Adding insult to injury, the risotto (despite its excellent flavor) was grossly undercooked to the point of actually still being crunchy.
My Underdog fared better with his Delmonico Pork with Sweet Potato Hash, although he had to dig a bit to find sweet potato in said "hash".  After questioning one of the servers about the seeming lack of the star ingredient in the Sweet Potato Hash, she dug a few bits out of his side dish for him to see.  Clearly noting Sweet Potato Boy's disappointment in the dearth of his favorite root vegetable, she sweetly brought out a side bowl of the hash so he could extract more sweet potato morsels... a very thoughtful (and unasked for) gesture.  Hash aside, he proclaimed his Delmonico Pork to be "the best pork chop I've ever eaten".
Although there was a Zucchini Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting on the menu that we were intrigued by, it took our server so long to get back to us for our dessert order that we were forced to abort lest we nodded off face-first into it.  That's what happens when you get old.  That's why God created Early Bird Specials.

The ratio of hits to misses during this experience probably won't bring us back (plus we're in Tampa), but I sensed that we could've just been there on an off night.  Judge for yourself.

Hue Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. Everything looks so yummy! Sorry to hear your entree wasn't to your liking? I've never sent a plate back and wonder if you have?

  2. No...I never send anything back. I once dated the restaurateur of a nicer spot in town who STRONGLY suggested that I never do so. His words have been inextricably lodged in my brain for 20+ years now. He said, "Never send anything back to be fixed and never accept a replacement after you've expressed dissatisfaction. If they offer to take the offending dish off the bill, fine...otherwise, pay for it and leave." The underlying meaning of that message is something I've never been able to shake.