Every year, roving Eater restaurant editor Bill Addison travels far and wide to scout out the country’s best restaurants. Perhaps not surprisingly, Houston has long had a place on the map, but this year one of Houston’s most beloved restaurateurs has finally claimed his place on the list.
In his updated guide, Addison has named Hugo’s as one of the country’s essential restaurants. “Hugo’s is, simply put, a Houston treasure — and, by extension of the city’s on-fire dining scene, is it also a national treasure,” says Addison. “There’s a heartening trend of incredible, upscale Mexican restaurants run by natives of Mexico opening around the country: Cosme in New York, Cala in San Francisco, Bracero in San Diego. Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught beat them all to their success, over a decade ago.”
Back in April, Addison published a guide to Houston’s most delicious dining destinations, and Hugo’s obviously had a place. Check out an excerpt from his review below, which shows some serious love to Hugo’s much-beloved achiote-braised cochon:
Hugo Ortega, a Mexico City native, composes plates that reflect his personal angle on the cuisines of his birth country, borrowing cooking techniques and dishes from all over rather than adhering to any one regional tradition. At Hugo's, his flagship restaurant, meat is a must. (For Mexican seafood go to Caracol, one of the other restaurant Ortega owns with wife Tracy Vaught.) Nothing better kicks off a meal than the starter of lechon — achiote-braised suckling pig nestled in a banana leaf and topped with crackings. It comes with habanero salsa that stings the lips and small corn tortillas that smell of earth and warmth.
Last time this list was released, Justin Yu’s Oxheart claimed Houston’s place. But in light of the news that Yu will close Oxheart in March of next year, it probably didn’t make a whole lot of sense to list it as a spot diners should make a point of visiting in 2017.