Bay View Welcomes Hue Restaurant & Lounge
Vietnamese meals already attracting a loyal following
The interior of Hue, which is located in
the spot that formerly housed Magic Dann’s, received extensive remodeling. A
wicker settee and chairs near the entryway serve as a waiting area during
dinner hours and lounge seating later on. The bar area seats 10. Along with
soothing wood tones, the dining room features colorful paintings of Vietnamese
scenery, including a view of the charming town of Hoi An (also a great place for food).
The menu is said to
focus on Hue,
but nearly all of the items are common to Vietnamese menus. Items include the
usual spring rolls, pho, and noodle and rice dishes. Among the less-common
items are banh xeo, addictive Vietnamese flour crepes.
Appetizers may be
ordered separately ($6-$7.50), but a nice introduction is to get a sampler
platter ($12.50), which includes a sample of most of the items. Tom chien are
shrimp fried in a batter that resembles tempura. Cha gio are crisp egg rolls of
the small size typically found in Vietnam. Bo thit nuong are bamboo
skewers of marinated beef seasoned with lemongrass. There also is goi cuon, a
fresh rice paper spring roll filled with rice noodles, mint, lettuce (lots of
it), carrot and cucumber. Shrimp and pork are promised but can barely be found
amid the vegetables. Two sauces are served—the peanut sauce is quite good, but
the surprise is the sweet/sour sauce with its an unexpected spicy kick. Save it
for the entrees.
Pho is a noodle
soup, with many regional versions found throughout Vietnam. This menu offers three
varieties. The pho tai chin, bo vien ($8.50) has rice noodles, onion, cilantro
and beef in three styles. Thin slices of sirloin are barely cooked; the utterly
tender brisket is very well done; and halved beef balls have a springy texture.
There is a plate with lime wedges, bean sprouts, basil and jalapeño slices. The
key to a good pho is the broth. Whereas many broths seem plain and watery, this
homemade beef broth is exceptional. Adding a touch of lime makes sense, but
with a broth this savory, the optional hoisin sauce and sriracha aren’t even
The banh xeo
($8.50), a large crepe made of rice flour, has a yellowish hue thanks to a bit
of turmeric. The crepe is folded and filled with shrimp, beef, mushrooms and
plenty of bean sprouts. Unfortunately, the bean sprouts vastly outnumber the
A dish that proves
otherwise is bo luc lac ($9.50), which translates as “shaking beef.” Cubes of
sirloin in a sweet marinade are served over a salad of leaf lettuces with grape
tomatoes, onions and garlic vinaigrette. A bowl of jasmine rice comes on the
side. This is an item worth remembering.
Bun chay ($8) is a
vegetarian entrée featuring rice noodles with lettuce, cucumber, carrot, mint,
bean sprouts, strips of marinated daikon radish and triangles of fried tofu.
The menu promised a marinade with lemongrass, garlic and ginger, but it only
came with peanut sauce or nuoc cham. The sweet/sour sauce saved from the
sampler platter, however, proved great for the fried tofu. Ultimately, though,
this sea of raw veggies had me enviously eyeing bo luc lac at a nearby table.
The service is
pleasant and the kitchen moves at a nice pace. The wine list offers about a
dozen varieties served by the glass or bottle. But Vietnamese fare calls for a
bottle of beer, and the beer list is much more impressive (try a bottle of
Hue already has attracted a loyal following, so expect a
wait on busier evenings (Hue
is closed on Mondays). And if you run into a crowd, discover the pleasure that
comes from lounging in the settee while nursing a bottle of “33.”
Hue Restaurant &
2691 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Credit Cards: MC, VS
Handicap Accessible: Yes