Hugo's is constantly changing, though if there is a detectable trend it is toward fewer whimsical experiments and molecular-gastronomy techniques. But the tea foam on the sherbet, light and minty with a hint of dark cocoa, reminds you that such experiments can yield great results. Other elements at Hugo's never change: the wonderful salty little buttermilk biscuits served with local butter (always from the same eight cows), the way the staff does formal dining flawlessly without ever making things feel stiff or prissy, the reasonable wine list. The nicest change at Hugo's was the different vibe this midweek deal has fostered: the place was bustling with locals, and people noticed colleagues and friends across the room and waved to say hello. At $7 a course, one of the country's best restaurants suddenly feels like the neighborhood bistro.
Brian Duff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HUGO'S | 88 Middle St, Portland | mid-week tasting menu $42 for six courses, Tues-Thurs 5:30-10 pm | full-price menu Tues-Sat 5:30-10 pm | Visa/MC/Amex/Disc | 207.774.8538
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