Bellwood Shopping Center, Colchester 863-6655
Open 7 Days
by Alice Levitt
Grazing on small plates can be a deeply satisfying, sensually fulfilling experience. But my boyfriend, James, and I would rather sample a bunch of inexpensive large plates. That's why sometimes only Hoagie Hut will do.
The owner is a former A-Ball player, and sports memorabilia takes its place on the walls alongside a mural depicting toque'd scamps running with a giant hoagie.
The genuine item is almost as big as its picture. On first glance, $8.50 might seem pricy, until a loaf of bread filled with a cow's-worth of lean and moist, yet surprisingly grease-free steak is plopped onto the counter. I like mine with cheese and fresh sautéed green peppers, but it costs no more to add mushrooms and onions for "The Works", just beware breakage with the precariously soft bun. A normal person can make three meals out of the thing.
The Hoagie Burger ($6.95) has to be seen to be believed. Imagine a Whopper made with fresh ingredients, including a 1/3 pound patty. Now picture two of them, side-by-side, on one humongous bun. A match between the Whopper and the Hoagie Burger is like Screech and Danny Bonaduce all over again.
My favorite dish at the Hoagie Hut is the shatteringly crisp fried chicken ($6.95). KFC — with its 11 herbs and spices — is always the control in any battered-poultry experiment, but Hoagie Hut’s sweeter version wins out. The honey-stung, ultra-thin, malt-y coating tastes a bit like a Belgian waffle. But I might just like my chicken and waffles sans waffles even better. The meal comes with wrist-thick steak fries, mayonnaise-drenched coleslaw and a roll.
If you want to be like me, get a Welch's grape soda on the side. And if you order more than one entrée (believe it or not, there's filet mignon and surf and turf, too!), tell them Alice sent you.