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Spending money at Hugo's Frog Bar

Vital Information | Jun 30, 2003 08:19 AM

It has been a good few weeks, providing vial information to manage risks, so feeling a bit flush we made a beeline to the place we love to drop our wad. Of course, we could have spent less money and had been in the wonderful company of the Chilean chowers, but sometimes, a mayor and his consort have to do their own thing.

We got to Hugo's pretty much on time for our reservation, the place was just filling up, but we got plunked in one of the gosh darn worst seats in the house. A comfy, circular banquette that was too close to the kitchen door. Every time it opened, we got serandaded by the crash of dishes and other assorted work-in-progress noises. They moved us easily, but it still rankles me a bit, why did WE get that booth? The new booth was just as comfy and circular and built for canoodling and before long all thoughts of noise were gone.

The Condiment Queen expressed pleasure she had been served pretty much her ideal repast: shrimp de jonge, the crab cakes with hot pink mayo and a veggie combination platter that included asparagus, brocoli, sauted mushrooms, creamed spinnach and sauted onions.

The shrimp de jonge was true revelation on this Chicago classic. Very large shrimps not in the least mushy or possesing that certain cooked shrimp taste I do not like--imagine that poor rendition of shrimp creole you once ate. The twelve or so shrimps were covered in the de jonge, a mix of butter, garlic and breadcrumbs. It was a dryer mix, almost a paste, but I liked it better that way. The crab cake was still terrific although perhaps because I have spent some extra time with Evil Ronnie, I was a bit more discerning on it. I did not seem pure jumbo lump, rather a mix, with only nuggets of lump interspersed. I cannot say whether this is a trend or if it has always been that way, it is only recently that I have taken this keener approach to crab cakes.

Hugo's does a very fine job with the smaller things. Not too many people whip up a better blue cheese dressing, and that effusive hot pink mayo works awfully well. The three kinds of bread on the table were even better. We resisted mightedly before meal, just nibbling on the raisin, but faced with a plate of spare de jonge, we went carb crazy. We liked all the vegetables. The simple ones, brocoli and asparagus, prospered without treatment. The more fancy spinnach was just as good, tasting of spinach and cream but not too much else.

I've attached my last review. Extra ditto for my comments on the pre-meal fish platter. I still love this place though.


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