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Hugo’s Restaurant

It took three trips to Houston to finally get a reservation at Hugo’s Mexican restaurant.

The first time I happened to stumble upon this authentic Mexican restaurant in Houston’s Montrose area, it was pouring rain from a ferocious, dark cloud that seemingly came out of nowhere. The rain just wouldn’t let up and most restaurants on Westheimer Road had parking spaces and empty tables on this stormy night.

This Chile En Nogada dish is a walnut crusted poblano pepper stuffed with pork, apple, pear, peach, plantain, sweet potato, almonds, and raisins. It is topped with a walnut cream sauce, cilantro, and pomegranate seeds and served with a pyramid of white rice. The pink loopy topper is made from corn husks.

Hugo’s restaurant, with car headlights stacked bumper to bumper while awaiting valet parking, was a lighthouse beacon in a furious storm. It had been raining very hard for a while and most restaurants were finding that their diners had decided not to come out in the deluge. But not Hugo’s diners! They all showed up for their reservations and there was no way I could get one on this miserable rainy night. Such was my introduction to Hugo’s.

This Canita de Borrego is a braised lamb shank with a mole verde and masa dumplings.

My second attempt at dining at Hugo’s was not a spur-of-the-moment decision. It was a short trip, and I needed an extra day to get a reservation. They were just too booked for me to try this ever-popular restaurant on this trip.

This Carnitas dish is slow-cooked pork with salsa, pico de gallo, cilantro, and onion.

The next time I was in Houston, I planned far in advance and got a very early dinner reservation because all the prime- time reservations were reserved. Now I was finally going to find out what made Hugo’s restaurant a perennial favorite.

This Tarta de Manzana, apple tart with pecans and dulce de leche, is served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and apple sticks.

First, executive Chef Hugo Ortego serves authentic Mexican food that is as visually appealing as it is delicious. Second, this is a restaurant meant for dining and not a quick bite. The beautiful details of each dish make you want to savor this food because there are many unexpected ingredients in these dishes. Third, Hugo’s restaurant has also won numerous awards, including being named one of the best Mexican restaurants in the US by Travel + Leisure

This Churros Rellenos dessert is stuffed with dulce de leche and served with hot chocolate and housemade chocolate ice cream.

Their menu is not huge but is varied which means that you can order anything from butternut squash soup (sopa de calabaza – click here for the recipe) to pan sauteed chapulines, aka grasshoppers! Well, maybe grasshoppers aren’t as popular as their fish, lamb, chicken, and pork dishes, they are available for adventurous diners!

Hugo’s is a dining experience with very attentive staff. The food is delicious and beautifully presented. Hugo’s Restaurant is located at 1600 Westheimer Road, Houston, Texas. Reservations are strongly suggested.

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