First Bite: Hughie's Heights & One Armed Scissor
Hughie’s Heights is the sequel to the beloved Timbergrove Vietnamese pub opened last Monday in the North Main Street space previously filled with Treadsack's Thai misfire Foreign Correspondents. But there's more to the debut than a new place to get shaking beef. Hughie's comes with a housemate, One Armed Scissor, a bar that's still in its soft opening phase.
The original Hughie's gained a reputation as a favorite for those seeking a Vietnamese fix washed down with craft beer. This second location gives Phillip Pham and crew the chance to really spread their wings. The space itself has been revamped with an open seating floor plan, as well as a dog-friendly outdoor patio and an extensive beer bar that runs almost the entire length of one side of the restaurant. With roughly 37 beers on tap, there’s a lot to choose from.
The menu is largely the same at both locations, so we went with the BaTrio to give us the opportunity to sample three signature starters: Vietnamese egg rolls, salt-and-pepper short ribs and the spicy tofu spring rolls. As Hughie’s only serves beer and wine, we ordered a glass of the house white and a draft of Golden Monkey from Victory Brewing. The egg rolls and the short ribs did not disappoint. The short ribs came with a spiced sautéed vegetable selection of fresh peppers and onions that was so tasty it would be worth getting it as a side dish should they put it on the menu.
For our main dishes, we decided to order some staples we spied on the table next to us: the shaking beef and banh mi burger. The shaking beef is on the menu two ways and can be served by itself with sides of steamed rice and a kale salad or over fried rice (with or without an egg, although there is egg already in the fried rice). We asked the waitress to prepare it the most popular way, which was straight up over fried rice. The meat was flavorful without overwhelming the fried rice, and the portion large enough to take some home for leftovers. Unfortunately, the burger arrived well-done instead of medium, likely the result of a kitchen still finding its groove. On that note, we happily filled our to-go containers and headed over to One Armed Scissor for some after-dinner cocktails.
Operated by partner Michael Molina of Moving Sidewalk and Wooster’s Garden, One Armed Scissor is already making a name for itself. The space still has the boozy late night charm of its former occupant. But Molina and crew have opened it up and given it a punk rock vibe accented with personal decorative pieces, including what appears to be an upside-down Barbie doll on one of the ledges. Molina has put together quite a staff behind the bar and it was clear from just one visit that they take cocktails very seriously here.
We chatted with bartender Shane Galloway about our likes and dislikes and he made us two of the menu's signature cocktails, The Trinidad James and The Working Title. Both were excellently crafted and I were pleasantly surprised by just how much I liked the Working Title, even though I'm not a rum drinker. Molina himself made us a still to-be-named cocktail, whose recipe he's still solidifying, and a Bourbon drink called OFF!
All in all, One Armed Scissor has a great vibe and even though we had only planned to stay for one drink, it was well past midnight by the time we left. Even though the space is attached to Hughie’s and it’s easy to view them as a duo, this is a bar worth visiting on its own.