5 of 5
Audio Review For Additional Comments
The necessary combination of knowledgeable staff, great bartenders, and incredible food with a funky city atmosphere that further solidifies Tucson’s got the talent and ability to be a restaurant mecca for people who love dining.
A “hook” in terms of music is that intangible “something you can’t name” in a song that makes you just want to listen to it. It is the thing that makes it unstoppable on the charts and unforgettable in your head. It makes you feel great hearing it, like you’re in on a secret or part of something cooler than you really are. Insidious, pushing on your rhythm and pleasure centers, it defies your cognitive ability to say exactly what it is that makes it irresistible, and yet it keeps drawing you back in, grabbing you like, well, like a hook.
And so Hub is to a food experience what Dave Matthews or, if you’re under 30, Foster the People, are to great hooks. Hub is creating incredible hooks in the form of sophisticated yet familiar food in a cooler than you environment.
Located in Tucson’s burgeoning dining mecca downtown, with the likes of 47 Scott, Pasco’s, and several other great eateries, I’d like to think of Hub as a hit machine. The dishes served were just absolutely incredible and like a good hook, kept me wanting more, more, more (reference Billy Idol hook circa 1980’s.) The official name, “Hub Restaurant and Ice Creamery,” is apt. I know exactly what the owner had in mind because he breaks his vision down into a simple equation. See picture. The math works.
We wondered into the packed decked out bar, plopped down on a couple of bar stools and proceeded to order what turned out to be a great signature drink called the Stubborn Hubster. About twenty minutes later we were seated. Although the place was comfortably packed on this Friday night, the staff kept it cool, calm, and collected.
We asked about the Porchetta Sandwich and let me just say that any time I ask a server a question and they begin their answer with yes, it’s a pork loin wrapped in pork belly and then slow roasted….well you can just stop right there. Bring me all of it.
And then there was the Shrimp and Grits.
I once again must disclose I am a grits snob. Spending much of my life in the south, I’ve had every good and bad version of grits. Armed with that experience to this point in Tucson, outside of the Waffle House, almost every chef in Tucson likes the “idea” of grits but clearly has no idea of how to either treat them or teach his cooks to prepare, hold, and serve them. It’s like ordering a rib eye from a vegetarian chef. No point of reference. So I’ve stopped ordering grits, unless, of course, I’m at the Waffle House.
THIS WAS NOT THE CASE at the Hub. They serve their own “original” version of Shrimp and Grits and man do they deliver. The cheesy grits were perfectly smooth, with a generous portion of giant perfectly cooked shrimp, all combined with a cacophony of deconstructed ingredients. The result was a plate of original yet familiar, irresistible, spicy and perfectly treated grits that made you want to hurry up and swallow so you could get to the next bite. Let me just say you gotta go see this dish. No really, if you love yourself, someone else, or just want to celebrate that you woke up again this morning, go visit a plate of the Shrimp and Grits at Hub. Please save some for me.
I’d like to tell you that we then snootily segued our way to the Porchetta sandwich to give it a dainty little taste so we could pen an apt description of our next dish. But what we actually did was practically arm wrestle for the damn thing. My wife won, again. Building that sandwich of pork wrapped in pork and roasted until the outside layer of pork was down home back east kracklin’ crunchy on the right piece of bread was a stroke of pure succulent genius. I could have listened to the proverbial symphony coming from the Hub kitchen all night long until I not so metaphorically burst.
I wish I could say at this point that we were able to gain control over ourselves and stopped eating. But that would be a lie. Reference said equation, drinks + cow + ice cream= Love. I don’t want to get too graphic here but there are no words for ice cream infused with bourbon (Makers Mark) and mixed with pecans, except this: lustalicously sexy creamy goodness. That they put the word “creamery” in their name was no mistake.
With many thanks to a laid back and very good staff, an incredibly creative chef with awesome cooks executing on his vision, and a sophisticated funky original interior, we give Hub the rare 5 out of 5 A+ rating.
You are going to need reservations. The evening was incredibly affordable coming in at around $60 with two rounds of drinks for two. It’s chill with a little bit of a Seattle feel. Located on Congress, it joins a set of great eateries in the area. WELCOME! And more importantly, THANK YOU!
Open from 11 am to close they also boast a late night menu which is a concept that I love, Love, LOVE.
Another thing was that they were very happy to split dishes so we could have a “tasting” experience and share entrée’s so take a date. If your wife objects, you can bring her too. OK I’m done gushing.
And the really cool thing about Hub is that unlike a great touring band, HUB is putting on a show 6 nights a week right here in town and you have virtually unlimited access.
Everything you need to know is at their great website http://www.hubdowntown.com/