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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Upmarket restaurant

Mon–Thu 11:00am–10:00pm
Fri–Sat 11:00am–11:00pm
Sun 10:00am–9:00pm

Features Date-friendly, live music, outdoor dining, Wi-Fi
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


1600 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX
(713) 524-7744
Modern, chef-driven Mexican served in a romantic, Montrose-driven space

We ordinarily cringe at the description “chef-driven Mexican” (is the implication that Mexican cuisine doesn’t require a caring, talented chef?), but here the phrase is meant to portend surprises, inventiveness, and excellence. Hugo’s fits in beautifully on hip Montrose’s restaurant row, with a décor that is as Spanish colonial as it is contemporary: lofty ceilings, exposed brick, and a gorgeous wood bar where you can enjoy a flight of mezcal or refreshing sangría.

Start with a bright, zesty ceviche. You could easily make a meal out of small plates (just don’t fall for the novelty of chapulines, crickets that are made more mushy and salty here than is traditional), but don’t miss one of the deeply flavorful and complex mains, like a cochinita pibil in which pork is slowly roasted in banana leaves with tart pickled onions and a sneaky red salsa. Moles are rich and layered, and seafood is generally stronger than less-flavorful cabrito and carnitas platings. The Saturday to-order brunch is, naturally, slightly better than the Sunday steam-table buffet. While flan is pleasantly creamy, the real dessert winner is a plate of crunchy churros filled with dulce de leche and served with spiced Mexican hot chocolate.

The wine list is loaded with Mexican-food-friendly wines from around the world, from big, spice-loving Syrahs to seafood-smitten Albariños. The tequila selection’s fine, but explore the Del Maguey mezcals, whose smoky medicinal aspects are as sensual a pleasure as Hugo’s food.

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