Sunday, January 10, 2010

So-so at Hugo's

We hadn't been to Hugo's in a couple of years, so when new friends suggested it for a get-acquainted dinner, we happily concurred. We knew Chef Sean Daly when he used to cook at Tink's in Clifton and wish him all the best in his own place.
But the dinner on a very cold January night--when Sean was not in the kitchen--was a bit of a disappointment overall.
The restaurant was less than fully booked on a Saturday night, which probably is the case all over town in the dead of a Cincinnati winter. The dining room was much too cold, and repeated requests for more heat had no discernible effect.
Our server was pleasant and efficient and the pace of our meal was fine. Food wise, most of the dishes were good to very good. Our salads--from a rich caesar to butternut squash ("not enough squash") to my frisee with apples and a bit of blue cheese--were adequate. For entrees, my husband said his salmon with Brussels sprouts was ordinary; the shrimp and grits were good (I didn't taste them), the special short ribs were outstanding, and my pork loin with spaghetti squash and pesto was the best thing I tried.
Dessert choices were extremely limited--just three items--and the blueberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream that made it to our table had nothing going for it.
I had noticed a nice selection of dessert wines by the glass on the wine list, and since none of the desserts rang my bells, thought I'd try a dessert wine. But it turned out that almost all were "out" and all that was available was port or sherry, neither of which fit my mood.
I think we probably just hit them on a down night, and maybe if Sean had been in the house it would have been a better experience. Hope so!

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