When there is little time for lunch, I’m game for anything, which is how I found Huit, a tiny pan-Asian barbecue joint tucked away on Court Street. Co-owner Tobias Harris knows fast casual. He designed restaurant chains for more than 20 years, and KFC was a prominent client.
Like Colonel Sanders, Harris and his partners—architect Trang Vo and designer Jennifer Eng—built their concept on herbs and spices. Huit’s signature eight-spice blend (huit is French for eight) includes cinnamon, fennel, caraway, and cumin, and crusts both the baby back pork ribs and tofu slices. Other flavor profiles harken from closer to home: Beef brisket is rubbed with Carabello’s La Esperanza coffee grounds then braised in MadTree Gnarly Brown ale. Craving something a little less caveman? Lemongrass chicken on a banh mi, or a four-spice flavored pork burger—juicy yet lean—will hold you until dinner, with a side of roasted cauliflower or custardy corn pudding. Those who hanker for haute dogs can order chorizo with cabbage slaw and Sriracha mayo, or currywurst with spicy jicama kimchi—the meat is sourced from Avril-Bleh & Sons, just next door. The lemonade fizz with jalapeño-juniper syrup or the butterscotch iced coffee are not to be missed. Service is swift and large images of patrons taking ’cue straight to the face make messy eating feel totally acceptable. Better yet: Nothing on the menu costs more than $10. If that’s not reason enough to ditch your brown bag, we don’t know what is.
Huit Craft BBQ, 29 E. Court St., downtown, (513) 381-4848, huitfoodbar.com. Lunch and dinner Mon–Fri, brunch Sat.