Mon–Fri, 7am–10pm; Sat-Sun, 9am-9pm
L at Sixth Ave.; 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R at 14th St.-Union Sq.; F, M at 14th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
8th St. to 23rd St., Fourth Ave. to Eighth Ave.
Hu Kitchen is more of a boutique Whole Foods than a full-blown restaurant. There's no waiter service; you order preprepared healthy foods from a counter. While there are tables for you to eat here, it's more suitable for a to-go order—the decor is stark and minimalistic. Though all of the food is certainly healthy, your best bet is juice and a snack. Green juices and smoothies are just as good as at competitors like Organic Avenue, and the housemade kale chips, raw granola, and almond butter and puffed quinoa chocolate bar are all satisfying items that happen to be packed with vitamins galore. For lunch and dinner, a large selection of prepared foods are sold by the pound, and there are also hot plates that come with simple proteins (including rotisserie chicken) and side dishes. Stick with the simpler items: charred broccolini, cauliflower purée, and miso kale salad are perfect, light dishes. When Hu tries to be more adventurous, it flops. Stuffed portobello with parsnip, carrot, squash, sweet potato, dates, walnut, and egg is filled with one too many vegetables, and it has a mushy, unappetizing consistency. The "Mashbar," a play on a frozen yogurt bar, has vanilla and chia pudding as a base, and a selection of healthy toppings like almond butter, organic fruit, and coconut cream. The vanilla pudding doesn't taste great on its own, but when smothered in chocolate chips, it's a smart way to satisfy a sweet tooth. When it comes to health, Hu certainly fulfills its mission, but if you're more focused on taste, this won't be a satisfying dinner. It's far more enjoyable to stop into Hu and stock up on virtuous snacks for your pantry.