Yun Cheng Goes for Vietnamese at Hue Restaurant

Yun Cheng, who brought us sushi spots Azuma and Soma, is turning his attention to Vietnamese cuisine with his new place Hue Restaurant, pronounced Hugh-Wey (3600 Kirby, 713-526-8858).

"Americans know Chinese and they know Japanese cuisine," says Cheng, "but we think the next explosion of cuisines is Vietnamese. It's perfect for today's healthier lifestyles since it uses fresh ingredients and fresh herbs; plus, there's not a lot of added fat - it's a very healthy cuisine."

The Vietnamese chef, Jenny Do, is from New York. "My brother and I met her about four years ago and were blown away by the meal she prepared," says Cheng. "It took us this long to find the right location and to make it work with her. We're very excited to have her."

As for the food, Cheng says, "The Vietnamese community has told us that our dishes are very authentic." He's gotten raves for the "shaking beef," which is chunks of filet mignon quickly seared in a wok and served over a watercress salad, as well as the whole crispy red snapper in a chile-lime sauce.

After a recent visit, we were impressed with Hue's innovative appetizers, including the shrimp ravioli, which arrived wrapped in banana leaves, and the wild mushroom cannelloni, which were like steamed dumplings, only flatter. -- Paul Galvani

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