Hue

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HUE has been an important part of downtown Orlando and specifically the Thornton Park area for more than six years. Although there were other venues targeting young people at the time, HUE was among the first specifically designed to attract a more upscale and stylish group. And certainly the first to be successful at it. From my February 2002 review in the Orlando Sentinel:
… Hue is very hip. On just about any evening it is vibrantly alive with young urbanites frantic to unwind from the day’s pursuits. So they sip pretty cocktails and shout to each other to be heard over the din they themselves are creating. Then, after a suitable waiting period that seems necessary to demonstrate the popularity of the place, they might make their way to a table in one of the two small dining rooms, or perhaps on the patio that wraps around the corner of Central Boulevard and Summerlin Avenue...

Over the years, it has continued to draw young drinkers and not a few diners, too.

The menu continues to have a curious Asian bent, such as a tuna tartare appetizer presented on crispy wontons, or cripsy oysters served whimsically in the sort of spoons used in Vietnamese soups. But the best items here are the more straightforward, including grilled flatbread with duck confit; Burgundy balsamic braised short ribs; and one truly fine burger.

On one of my visits I had the wood-grilled rack of lamb and my companion chose the pan-seared halibut. Both were nicely done. The lamb featured two double chops, finished to the requested medium-rare, placed over a mound of risotto and accompanied by sautéed vegetables, including green beans, green pea pods, and red peppers. Although the menu said it was a red pepper risotto there was no indication red pepper had been involved.

The halibut was a good-sized fillet deftly cooked so the inside had white flaky flesh and the outside had a pleasantly crisped crust.

Servers tend to be young and range from green and inexperienced to highly trained and reliable.

Hue is at 629 E. Central Blvd., Orlando. It's open daily for lunch and dinner. The phone number is 407-849-1800. Visit the Web site for more info.