Hugo & Sons was perfectly set on a busy corner in the popular Park Slope area of Brooklyn. I will admit, it was the first time I had ever visited the up-and-coming area and I absolutely loved it. Hugo & Sons is just the right fit for Park Slope families as well as singles and couples who dwell in the neighborhood. As we entered Hugo & Sons we were seated at a quaint corner table with chic leather banquettes that hugged us. The interiors of the space which mainly had an industrial vibe but with farmhouse touches, was just up my alley. I felt as if I was in a country kitchen that was married with a super chic bar. The space was extremely modern, but still gave off that warm welcoming feeling that assured you that the cuisine had to have flairs of true home cooking.
Chef and owner Andrea Taormina along with his wife Rebecca Tory, occupied this old 1940’s building that once was a butcher shop, and turned it into a welcoming, up-scale eatery with a no nonsense menu. My guests and I decided to order off of the wine list, which was swimming with delicious house-made concoctions ans tasty wines. I decided on a glass of rose and my guest chose a tasty bourbon cocktail. Both were deliciously refreshing and hit the spot. While we browsed over the menu, we were topped off with a basket of homemade bread that was accompanied by fresh ricotta cheese with a sprinkle of lemon zest. The bread was crusty and warm, just the way I like it. We decided to order a few different appetizers to start including the restaurant’s infamous Sicilian meatballs, which were rolled from grass fed beef and stuffed with pistachios, golden raisins, Pecorino and finished off with white wine. Guilty as can be, this Italian has never had a Sicilian meatball, but Hugo’s may have you second guessing your traditional balls in red sauce. They were spectacular! What I love about their menu is the variety of both Italian and French fare, but also the simplicity of being able to order a seasonal salad or homemade pizza (Hugo’s also offers a separate pizzeria menu filled with salads and close to 10 different pizza varieties). Next off the list was the assorted crostini. A plate of three logs of homemade bread came out each topped with something more different then the next. Sweet pea and Pecorino, caramelized fennel with crispy salami and my personal favorite, the creamy Buratta, lemon, chilies and marjoram. Each crostini burst with flavors and the crunchiness of the bread made each bite better then the next. The fresh cheeses blew me away, each having a distinct texture and taste.
Our next big decision was entrees, but torn between all of the wonderful specials, we decided to order one as our last and final starter. The grilled Spanish octopus came out large enough to share and was charred to perfection. Lightly sauced with crispy potatoes and capers to top. We couldn’t get enough of this dish. The meat was so tender and hearty. We could have easily ordered up another one to share. My guest then decided on the paella special and I went with a more traditional Italian dish of rock shrimp linguine. The paella came out in a huge skillet, crackling and sizzling having just come off the stove. The serving size was large enough to easily serve up to two or three people (depending on how hungry they are!) Tons of fresh fish topped the paella from scallops to mussels and clams to squid. The aroma was savory and my guest couldn’t get enough of the fresh fish and spices. My dish was the perfect portion size of pasta. Delicate linguine sat in a haystack and fresh rock shrimp topped it off. The flavors of garlic, chilies, Parmesan and lemon zest all came together with my shrimp and pasta. This dish was delicate, light and rich all at the same time. A little black pepper to top it off and I twirled every last bit of pasta in my plate.
Another round of cocktails and we were onto dessert. We decided on two sweet choices to end this perfect evening. A homemade N.Y. cheesecake drenched in warm caramel, bits of hazelnuts and dried apricots. I also wanted to try their seasonal homemade apple and peach crisp. Our server alerted us that it takes about 15-20 minutes to prepare, but I had a feeling it would be worth the wait. Out came one large piece of creamy cheesecake and the other, a hot baking dish of warm apples and peaches topped with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. As full to the brim as we were we couldn’t let any last bite of dessert go to waste. Both were so delicious and satisfied our sweet tooth for the next few days.
Hugo & Son’s was truly a wonderful experience and we can not wait to go back. A perfect spot for families, couples or friends looking for quality food and an inventive fare and cocktail menu. Looking for a quick bite? Hugo & Son’s also does takeout. From their dinner menu to their pizza menu, anyone can order and go. They also offer breakfast and lunch daily, with an extensive menu of homemade quiches to farm-fresh eggs as well as seasonal salads and hearty lunch specials. Their is something for everyone, and with the quality of ingredients and flavors, I promise you will all be highly satisfied.
Hugo & Sons: 367 7th Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn. Tel: 718.499.0020.