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[Houston] Hugo's


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This past Saturday my wife and I were going to the movies. Before we headed over to the theatre, and after dropping the little one at my sister-in-laws place, we wanted to pick a place to eat after the movie. My wife suggested we try Hugo’s. So I called, got a reservation and made sure that our casual attire was ok.

We got to Hugo’s a few minutes before the reservation time, and were seated promptly. It was around 6 PM and the place was quiet and very nice. Well lit, clean, and the seats are very comfortable. Our waiter was quick to welcome us to the place and asked if we would be interested in wine. Sure we were, and he was very helpful. We decided on a very good CA Zinfandel. It was an excellent choice.

The specials for the night included a grouper topped with a large garlic saturated shrimp and crab meat served with corn soufflé, asparagus and guacamole . Another special was a beef fillet, grilled and served with tamales I think. We decided to start with a seafood “cocktail” for an appetizer. Hugo’s offers three or maybe four of them. We went with the last one called somethink like Pulpo De Vida, that had octopus, shrimp, fish and oysters. The seafood was marinated in a light house made tomato based sauce. The dish served in a martini glass was wonderful, the fish fresh and tender and the sauce tangy and lightly spicy. Miles away from your typical thick “cocktail sauce”. It was served with a wedge of avocado and crispy thick tortilla chips which we nibbled on even after the seafood was gone.

For our main courses we went with the grouper special for my wife, and a beef fillet from the regular menu for myself. Now usually I am not a big fan of plain grilled tender and relatively flavorless fillet. This one sounded very intriguing though. It is stuffed with Huitlacoche, squash and cheese and served topped with tomatillo sauce. It also comes with refried black beans rich with fresh lard taste and formed into cute quenelles. Another side with the fillet was also grilled asparagus, which was good but not special. Last but not least I also received a small pyramid of Mexican rice. Again very good, perfectly cooked but nothing out of this world. The fillet itself was excellent, and it married wonderfully with the flavorful filling and mildly tangy topping.

As always, we always switch plates back and forth while we are eating so I got to try my wife’s grouper. This was a thick fish fillet, grilled perfectly and topped with a mammoth shrimp that has been basted aggressively with mojo di ajo (garlic sauce). The shrimp still had it’s head and tail intact and my wife did not want to touch it thinking it was not peeled! So, I offered to take care of it for her and removed the head and tail and gave her half of it back :smile:. The corn soufflé served with this dish worked very well, it tasted like a nice corn bread, but a lot lighter and with nice corn kernels scattered through. Both entrees were winners.

Form the dessert menu we picked two. The first is a flourless criolle chocolate cake in the form of a thick triangle. The thin base of the triangle was formed by a dark chocolate cookie. The cake comes with a scoop of dulce de leche ice cream. All ice creams at Hugo’s are homemade. The cake itself was sweet, nutty, bitter and a little tangy. I liked it very much. The ice cream however, was not what I expected. It tasted more like sweet cream ice cream, and had a pale off-white color. No, hints of caramelized milk and sugar could be detected and certainly no light brown caramel color.

The other dessert we picked was “Torta De Coco” or coconut tart. This is normally served with dulce de leche ice cream as well. We opted to get Mango instead since the other dessert already had dulce de leche ice cream. This was a very good move. The mango ice cream was divine, tasted like a fresh ripe mango and went great with the tart. The tart itself is a good size round tart pastry filled with “cocomnut goo” and topped with lots of coconut shavings that go slightly brown around the edges when baked. I was very full by them but still managed to polish it off after my wife gave up. Of the two desserts I prefer this one.

Hugo’s is certainly one of our new favorites in town now. It won us over with a great atmosphere, excellent service and wonderful food.

Anyone else been and cares to share?

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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The first time I went there I nearly cried it was so good.  It's become a must-visit when we're in town.  My parents live in Houston and go a bit more often and have had some rocky experiences, though every time I've been it's been nothing short of great.

Kevin-

What kind of rocky experiences? Food or Service or both?

Elie

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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A group of us went to Hugo's for chocolate after the Michael Coe lecture on chocolate at the Museum of Natural History. We only had assorted starters as it was late and we were after the chocolate. They were very gracious. I have tried to go back a couple of times but the plans fell through. It is a beautiful room.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I first went to Hugo's last March after the Coe lecture. It was late, so we just snagged a few appetizers and chocolate. I was quite impressed with what we had as well as with our very knowledgeable waiter.

I have been back on several occasions, including a 3 day stint visiting with a Poblana friend who is doing a stage there both on the line and in pastry. Hugo Ortega and his brother Ruben, the pastry chef, are skilled, knowledgeable, and riding the wave's edge. They return to Puebla frequently to tweak flavors, source product, and see what's up with chefs at home.

I have never had a problem with Hugo's, although I have had some people who were utterly mystified that this could really, really be Mexican food. The rabbit is especially tasty and well done, as are the fish preparations. I'll probably be back within the month. I urge everyone to go.

Theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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Hugos is in my neighborhood and I have had uneven experience there but still take people from out of town who always find something there really unusual to them that they love. There are some always-hits on the menu like the dish whose name escapes my name, the poblano stuffed with pork and raisins, walnut cream sauce and pomengrate seeds on top? That is delicious there but usually a special. Also, the dulce de leche crepes and the goat cheese cheesecake are worth the trip also. Great margaritas and it's nice to have a good wine list there too.

We used to go there for brunch sometimes but now it's a buffet and I have been hesitant to try it. Breakfast had the best basket of Mexican pastries. That and a cup of Mexican coffee was worth changing out of your pyjamas for on the weekend!

Lately we've been going to Tila's on Shepard when we want more upscale Mexican. Sometimes Hugos is filled with too many large parties and people with loud kids.

I just ate a Weight Watchers pizza (I know, I know) and would give anything for a glass of wine and dessert at their bar.

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There are some always-hits on the menu like the dish whose name escapes my name, the poblano stuffed with pork and raisins, walnut cream sauce and pomengrate seeds on top?

Chiles en nogada.  It is a special because it is.  Quite seasonal, because the walnuts used for it are only available during the temporada.  They are not English walnuts, and they must be harvested just as they ripen, so that the nut meat can be peeled.  They are a royal pain in the sitter to make properly, but they are totally exquisite.

Lately we've been going to Tila's on Shepard when we want more upscale Mexican.

Could you elaborate on what you mean when you say "more upscale"?  There is a place in Ft. Worth that is also 'upscale' Mexican - but the upscale has to do with the use of foie gras, etc, and does not have anything seemingly to do with Mexico or things Mexican.  The food is, however, wonderful. 

Not being a restaurant culture until relatively late in its life, Mexican cuisine has not gotten the gilded lily treatment of French food.  That does not, at least in my opinion, make it impossible for it to rise to the level of 'haute' ....  There are plenty of upscale Mx places around who seem to think that depilating the yellow cheese from the item and plating it tall, stressed, and frizzed constitutes 'haute.' 

Just had dinner at Aurora in Dallas (not Mexican; American w/classic French technique in the kitchen).  The plating would be considered boring by certain current standards.  It was classic, black silk and pearls.  Neither permitting a false step, nor making one.  the place is 'haute' in a way that most other food palaces in Dallas aren't, think they are, and are likely never to be.

Sometimes Hugos is filled with too many large parties and people with loud kids.

Noisy kids are a problem.  However, I respectfully submit to you that you have just hit upon one of the very Mexican components of Hugo's.  You will find them in most every restaurant in Mexico - with the possible exception of Tezka, or the W or Hotel Nikko.

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theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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I've always had good experiences at Hugos. I really enjoy tasting different tequilas and chasing with the homeade sangrita. I also have good luck with most the appetizers, especially the squash blossom special appetizer menu.

Its been awhile since Ive been soi need to get back soon.

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I have only been to Hugo's once, and it was for my mother-in-law's birthday. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal, but my inlaws are terrible at dining out... they don't drink wine, don't get appetizers, hate to linger and are in and out in 45 minutes or less. Not the best dining partners to experience a new restaurant with. My husband and I need to get back, because we both loved our food and would like to explore the menu more.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hubby and I went to Hugo's on Sunday. I had a grouper dish baked in banana leaves and rubbed with chiles. It was served with a pyramid of black beans and rice. Hubby had the chicken enchiladas. Everything was top notch. In fact, I think we had the same waiter we had the first time we visited Hugo's 2+ years ago. For desert we had the churros. It came with their hot chocolate for dipping. :smile:

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