Hugo’s is a large Mexican restaurant with tons of seating at tables as well as bar seating and party rooms. They have a huge wine list and you can see the bottles displayed in the cabinets showing on the second floor balcony. There are actually a number of wines from Mexico on the list. Staff is friendly and directive in your ordering. They make a lot of variations of margaritas which are put in a shaker and shaken and poured tableside. Unfortunately our waitress was not skilled on filtering the ice coming out of the shaker and so my glass was filled with so much ice there was no way not to get your nose wet when drinking. It also meant some of the drink got passed back to the bar and diluted the mixture an unpleasant amount. At the price of these drinks I would steer you to wine or beer. The menu at lunch offers the appetizer plates at 2 for $22 which is a good deal as they range from $10 to $15. Also, they don’t serve chips and salsa so you might want something to snack on before the plates arrive.
In lieu of chips they serve a bowl of spiced peanuts which were pretty good with a bit of spice.
We started with 2 of the appetizers one being the Pulpo al Carbón which is grilled octopus, onions and peppers served with a chipoltle-tomatillo salsa and hot tortillas. The octopus was cooked to a nice chewiness, not overdone. The delicate tortillas had a nice strong taste of corn. The salsa was not spicy but did add an interesting taste. A good dish.
The Ceviche de Huachinango was made with red snapper mixed with onion, tomato, jalapeño, cilantro, green olives, avocado and lime. It was served with a bowl of thick crispy corn chips that were corny and not greasy. The dominant flavor in the ceviche was lime and olive. The fish was nice but overshadowed by the other ingredients. It was good, not great.
For an entree we had the Carne Brava which is wood grilled skirt steak smothered in rajas and served with guacamole, refritos, Mexican rice and tortillas. It was cooked to an amazingly rare state. It was very smokey and tender. The sauce with it had some peanuts mixed in and was an interesting addition. The onions and peppers mixed nicely with the beef and warm tortillas but the beans, rice and guacamole were throwaways. The rice was interestingly shaped like a pyramid and there were also herbs on the plate.
The Barbacoa was lamb marinated in chilies, onion, garlic and avocado leaves and then slow roasted in agave skin. It was served still wrapped with sides of chopped onion, fresh cilantro, guacamole, a plain white rice pyramid with peas and warm tortillas. The meat had been pulled from the bone and was very tender and full of lamb flavor. The guacamole, rice and beans again were unexciting. The sauce was not terribly spicy and a bit watery but did work well with the meat. The tortillas were nicely warm and tender but never replenished. It was a good dish but only if you enjoy the strong flavor of lamb.
For dessert we tried the Crepas con Cajeta which were caramel filled crepes served with dulce de leche ice cream on top of candied pecans. The crepes came folded up with the blob of caramel in the middle. I would have preferred to have it on the side or on the plate as it made the crepes mushy and didn’t cover the whole crepe. That said it was still quite good and the flavors all worked together nicely to provide a sufficient sweet fix to end the meal.