YOU GO, HUGO For two solid months, every time I checked on the much-anticipated opening of Hugo’s in Houston, I got variations on the same answer: “Oh, we’re so sorry, but there’s going to be a wait; we’ve run into more construction problems.” I sniffed disaster lurking. Finally, in July, the doors opened. And guess what: The place is great. Everything comes together—the sophisticated but earthy interior-Mexican menu, the room with its soaring spaces and wrought-iron torchères, and the feeling you get from the staff that they’ve pulled off something special. Executive chef and co-owner Hugo Ortega (who is also jefe of Houston’s Backstreet Cafe) ate his way across Mexico to reacquaint himself with that country’s regional specialties. Various seafood cocktails represent the Gulf Coast; grilled lobster tail in garlic mayonnaise comes from the Yucatán. The restaurant’s duck in an excellent, unsweet mole poblano comes from his home city of Puebla. I can’t wait to go back. What do you want to bet that, when I do, there will be a wait?
From the September 2002 Issue Subscribe