When the opportunity arose to join a group of bloggers for a Hugo’s tasting, my interest was piqued. Given my last experience, I was hoping to have my opinion turned around. Plus, the food was never the problem. So I attended the tasting with an open mind and an empty stomach.
First up, the cocktails:
The Mexican Martini was tasty, but I would have preferred the goat cheese olive on the side. The cheese made the martini a little milky and saltier than I would have liked. Both the Blueberry Martini and Cantaloupe Martini were made with Hugo’s delicious infused liquors. The cantaloupe had a spicy finish that we all enjoyed. I was worried that a White Russian made with tequila might be weird, but it wasn’t. It was yummy.
The shot of Bloody Mary was so good, it didn’t even need the shrimp nacho on top. While most of my cohorts loved the Duck Cigar with Blackberry Ancho Chile Sauce, I preferred the Mexican Corn. The charred corn wrapped in unbelievably fresh and crisp Bibb lettuce was light and refreshing. A few people commented that it could easily be a salad.
The quiche is an offering on the brunch menu and was made with bacon, roasted corn and green chiles. The ribeye was flavorful and served atop the creamiest, silky mashed potatoes. And the shrimp and grits, available for dinner as well as brunch, was pure perfection. For me, this was the biggest surprise dish of the night. The fresh pico de gallo contrasted with the creamy grits and grilled shrimp to make a balanced and well-seasoned dish.
The bread pudding was so chocolately and rich. Really indulgent and delicious. It’s only failure was being served after the cuatro leches, which was the star dish of the evening. My whole table oohed and ahed, declaring it the best we’d ever had. The soaked sponge cake was garnished with dulce de leche, raspberry sauce, poached pears, and whipped cream. Unbelievable.
The food at Hugo’s is creative and well thought out. Although some of the dishes were over-salted, the presentation was simply beautiful. There were still problems with the service and timing, with long waits between courses, especially the drinks. The talents of the front and the back of the house are clearly mismatched. I believe Hugo’s has not yet found their identity. The careless service does not give due respect to the quality of food the chef is putting out. It all feels a little confused and haphazard.
With a few small improvements, Hugo’s could really have something great. I hope they can smooth out the service so that the food can shine like it deserves to. Have you been to Hugo’s? Leave a comment to share your experience.