Opening a restaurant in New York City is one of the riskiest investments a person can make. The ROI is low, and the New York City food scene is as fickle as a teenage girl’s interest in music: what’s trending one minute is long gone the next. That being said, any commitment to this wild business endeavor requires a certain degree of mettle, a mixed combination of a winning personality and intense drive, one that’s going to inspire people to keep coming back.
Hugo & Sons exudes a warm and welcoming ambiance from the second you step foot inside its homey, comfortable walls. This family friendly Park Slope establishment is a calming way to wind down your day over a glass of wine (or three) and comforting Italian fare.
What the staff lacks in accuracy it makes up for in kindness, which was something we experienced first-hand when the wrong food was delivered twice, and we waited quite some time for our drinks. Having personally opened up restaurants in the past, I understand how long it takes to settle into a routine, especially when the restaurant is as crowded as this one. Any fledgling establishment is going to have to suffer through trial and error to work out the kinks of service.
On to the important things: food and wine. The wine list was incredibly interesting, hailing from both Old and New World, and all available by the glass, bottle, and quartino. The ability to pick and choose your own wine pairing isn’t always available, and it is such a thoughtful, pleasant way to enjoy a meal when you’ve lost the fear of committing to a full bottle – and not loving it.
While the seared cod entrée with peas and artichokes that we enjoyed was both sizable and delectable, the real star of this menu is the preamble – pasta. Garlicky, buttery linguine crowned with precious rock shrimp and christened with red chili flakes (never enough, in my opinion) were the highlight of the meal, though the braided strands of strezzopretti braised with a brisket ragu and fresh ricotta was a very close second.
The main dining room at Hugo and Sons (there is a pizzeria next door) may still be getting into the swing of things, but Chef Andrea Taormina and his brother/manager/former consultant Keith McNally are both warmly committed to making Hugo and Sons a success.
Twisted Talk: Have you dined at Hugo and Sons? What’s your favorite Park Slope spot for pasta? Discuss below!