After a long remodel, my beloved international district mainstay, the Vegan Garden, has been transformed into one of the sensuously named "Loving Hut" chain of vegan (Supreme Master based) restaurants.
Off the bat, I found the menu to be a little bit less appealing than the Vegan Garden's. The Loving Hut menu is composed largely of fake meats shaped like real meat parts, and has lots of deep fried morsels that look delicious but not particularly healthful. I was pleased to see that the lemongrass tofu vermicelli bowl still exists, as does a spicy soup. My dining companion ordered the soup, and was disappointed to find it came with a variety of fake meats instead of tofu. Good to know that a tofu specification needs to be made next time!
I ordered the "Guru's Curry," specially made with with soft tofu instead of vegan meat nuggets (they are willing to do this all over the menu) and found it to be fantastic. The ample plate consisted of cubes of silky custardy tofu, broccoli and cabbage drenched in a most delicious, slightly spicy, very savory yellow curry. I don't know how they make that stuff taste so good but it was addictive. I can imagine going to the Loving Hut with specific cravings for this dish.
There is definitely a "Supreme Master" bend to the place; propaganda videos play on a big TV, there are pamphlets and books to take and buy, and the fortune cookies spread Supreme Master wisdom. None of this bothers me though. I'm not sure if Supreme Master is leader of a cult, a religion, or just a state of mind, but as far as her message is understood to me, it is that being vegan is kind to the planet and fellow life, which is an idea that I generally agree with. If there is a darker or more manipulative side to the videos and messages, I'm not picking up on it (nor am I on the look out for it).
The sweet waitress brought us multiple samples of vegan baked goods through out the meal.
Supreme Master or not, chain restaurant or not, it feels really good to go to a restaurant where the entire ideology is based on veganism, and if the change-over is what needed to occur to keep this location in business, I'm happy that it happened.