Thursday, August 25, 2016

Portland Eats: Hugo's

One last travel post that I think is worth sharing, because this Portland, Maine restaurant is such an interesting concept. One that Cleveland doesn't have.

Hugo's in Portland (same owners as our favorite Eventide Oyster Company) defines themselves as "refined New England cuisine" and it features a daily tasting menu with 15 selections. There are three categories, and five courses within each category. For $90 (single courses are available for $22), diners select an option for each course from any of the categories. A build-your-own chef's tasting, and it reminded me of, the now closed, One Walnut in Cleveland.

But, the really special thing about Hugo's is that the entire restaurant is a "chef's table experience," with front row seats to the open kitchen.
Most of the restaurant's seating is at the bar, and you are literally watching the dishes be created right in front of you. It was captivating. Such pressure for the staff though!
The food reminded me a lot of Cleveland's Trentina. The technique and skill level showcased was impressive, and the plating was gorgeous.
There wasn't a course that we didn't enjoy. However, the flavors just didn't "wow" us. The food felt safe, flavor-wise.

The experience was one to remember, being front and center for the meal and seeing their creative takes on familiar ingredients. I liked this restaurant concept, and it left me wishing that there was something in Cleveland like this. Chef's tables can be exclusive and expensive, and this place opened that experience up for every diner in the restaurant. Very cool.

88 Middle Street
Portland, ME