My F&W
quick save (...)

Hugo's, Portland

88 Middle St.
Portland , ME , United States http://hugos.net/
(207) 774-8538

Owner-chef (and James Beard Award–winner) Rob Evans may have trained himself to cook—but it’s not as if he just woke up one day and whipped up a batch of ocean-perfumed shrimp chips or salt-cured foie gras parfait. Rather, Evans worked his way from cruise-ship kitchens to Napa Valley’s French Laundry before taking over this longtime spot (keeping the original name, Hugo’s) in the center of Portland’s restaurant row. Now Evans’s wife, Nancy Pugh, expertly manages the comfy, if somewhat dated, black-and-maroon dining room, with a new bar menu and flat-screen TVs that telecast the ongoing action in the kitchen. But the real drama is on the plate. Evans is a master of creative cookery, blending seemingly unrelated flavors to tongue-tingling surprise, and seafood is his forte. Even a simple glass of rich, briny bouillon hides layer upon layer of flavor. And when Evans takes you down the gourmet rabbit hole with dishes like “ice wine vinegar snow cones” and “smoked milk chocolate mousse,” it’s best to go along for the ride. Any questions, just ask the ultrafriendly waitstaff, each of whom is fluent in Evans’s one-of-a-kind culinary language.

advertisement
The Dish
Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
advertisement

Tune in on Wednesdays at 10PM ET for Top Chef: Boston, the 12th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.