When was the last time that the chef came to your table in a “quick serve” restaurant to check on your meal?
OK, full disclosure… I was with two other food/restaurant writers to check out Hugo Caliente, a new quick-serve “Tex-Mex/Mexican” restaurant in Town and Country Center. Also, he knew who we were. The real point here is the fact that there IS a chef. Furthermore, all of his offerings are scratch-made and from locally sourced fresh seasonal ingredients. So fresh and so seasonal that he doesn’t even have a freezer. So, what what we have here is a true chef-driven quick-serve restaurant (called “fast food” a little over a decade ago). When I say “chef-driven”, by the way, Chef Chris Smith is a veteran of over 25 years with Pappas Restaurant Group and was manager of their sous chef program.
Chef Chris Smith
If you care to have a glass of wine or a margarita with your meal, Hugo Caliente (wine and beer license only) has a nice, yet medium-to-low-priced wine list and serves really tasty “margaritas” made from agave wine that (to people like me), smells and tastes much like Tequila.
A master of “mise en place” all food is prepped throughout the day and prepared by Chef/Owner Chris Smith’s kitchen/line staff as ordered, in front of the customer right in the service line. As an example, outside skirt steaks (sourced from Cameron, Texas) are grilled to your order to build fajita plates, then accented with locally grown veggies, such as in a tangy Pico de Gallo.
Outside Skirt Steaks
Speaking of Pico de Gallo, Hugo Caliente has an impressive array of salsas to complement the offerings and all are made in-house.
Hugo Caliente’s Salsas
Galerie du Cuisine
Bacon-Wrapped Outside Skirt Steaks
with Avocado Puree
Chicken Quesadillas with Manchego Cheese
709 West Sam Houston Parkway, Suite 112