• happy birthday, hugo’s! amazing new vegan specials!

    September 2nd, 2010quarrygirlhugo's restaurant, LA restaurants

    september is a great month by any measure. fall (the best season ever) is upon us; it’s cooling down outside, and pretty leaves are starting to fall off the trees. the crazy summer is fading away, yet the cozy holidays are ahead. this september is particularly awesome though, because it marks the 30th birthday of hugo’s, one of our favorite restaurants. and to commemorate this occasion, they are offering a very unique specials menu which celebrates the food of the past, while looking forward to the food of the future. meaning: there are tons of old school, meat/dairy-heavy dishes, but EVERY ONE THIS MONTH CAN BE VEGANIZED! partaaaaaay!

    yesterday i was fortunate enough to try out 7 (yes, SEVEN) of these 10 brand new specials craftily created by chef nabor, and all i can say is…i know i will be a regular customer at hugo’s this month. these dishes need to be eaten several more times, by me, before october comes and they are no longer available.

    vegan pasta carbonara: house made pasta cooked with veggie bacon, house-dried smoked mushrooms, scallions, garlic, parsley, chili flakes, white wine and a vegan cream sauce. $13.50

    first up i tried the vegan pasta carbonara, an animal-free version of a hugo’s classic. the original comes with prosciutto, bacon, and parmesan cheese—while the new version is loaded with veggie bacon, house-dried smoked mushrooms and a vegan sauce made from sunflower seeds. my oh my, this dish blew me away. chef nabor’s secret recipe of homemade pasta, topped with all the goodness of meaty mushrooms, scallions, parsley and chili flakes was almost too much to handle. anyone who craves a hearty, creamy meal would be pleased by the vegan carbonara. i’m so thankful that hugo’s decided put a cruelty-free spin on this favorite dish. BTW the mushrooms are what make it; they are pure magic, i tell you!

    next up, i tried a veganized version of the “caprese potato pancake sandwich,” which came with sliced tofu rather than cheese.

    vegan tofu potato pancake sandwich: tofu, sliced heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and Kalamata olive relish between two crispy potato pancakes. $12

    i knew i would love this the moment it arrived at the table, and one of the hugo’s peeps quickly explained to me, “this is our vegan version of the double down.” brilliant! instead of being the grossest sandwich known to man, this little beauty took the healthy/vegan route, and was absolutely delicious! it came with two perfectly crispy potato pancakes serving as “bread”, with thick slabs of tofu and in-season heirloom tomatoes in the middle. not to mention fresh basil leaves, and chunky kalamata relish. to die for! and just LOOK at how beautifully crispy the potato cakes were… (i can assure you, they tasted even better!)

    by this time i was working up quite the thirst, so i quenched it with the september special basil ginger lemonade.

    basil ginger lemondade: fresh agave-sweetened lemonade blended with fresh basil and ginger. $3.25

    it was like sweet summertime in a glass, with hints of lemon, basil, and spicy ginger. extra refreshing and packed with a punch, this was one tasty beverage.

    onto the rest of the food, starting with the melanzane parmigiana (made vegan!)…

    melanzane parmigiana (veganized): layers of deep-fried crispy breaded eggplant, filled with tofu ricotta. topped with mushroom-vegetable bolognese sauce and daiya cheese. served with mashed potatoes and sauteed leafy greens. $13.50

    this meal by default comes sprinkled with real cheese but with one quick request to your waiter, you can get it daiya-style. it tastes like a very traditional scrumptious italian dish—layers and layers of rich, deep fried breaded eggplant atop eerily convincing tofu ricotta. it’s got the most amazing and luscious vegetable bolognese sauce as well; why anyone would get this almost entirely vegan dish with a dab of real cheese escapes me! the daiya tastes incredible, so be sure to specify vegan. it also comes with a side of hugo’s signature dairy-free mashed potatoes and sauteed leafy greens. perfection!

    the last entree i sampled was the “new age” version of hugo’s world-renowned pasta mama

    new age pasta mama: a vegan version of our signature classic represents our move toward plant-based recipes which better supports the health of the planet.: house-made pasta with scrambled organic tofu, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley and Hugo’s seasoning blend $11

    the normal pasta mama is served on hugo’s a la carte breakfast menu, and features a mix of fresh pasta, scrambled eggs, garlic, parsley, and parmesan cheese. this new age version is even better, and comes with scrambled tofu, bread crumbs, and the same delicious herbs and spices.

    the soft crumbly tofu really does taste eggy (in a non-nasty way), and i was eating this stuff up like crazy. so, so, SOOOOOOOO good. this only re-affirms my belief that hugo’s can successfully veganize ANYTHING, and their best work is always on the specials menu…so be sure to order from that whenever possible.

    just as i was reaching a maximum fullness, i was offered a chance to try this month’s “trio of sweet delights”. after all the amazing tastes i described above, i just couldn’t say no. within seconds, chef nabor appeared at my table with an gourmet style dessert platter that was nothing short of stunning.

    a trio of vegan sweet delights: a slice of torte Setteveli - Chocolate cake with hazelnut frosting and Frangelico liqueur. Poached pear in Port and sweet Marsala wine. Crispy rice paper basket with sorbet. $10

    the trio of sweet delights was all kinds of fancy. this is the type of dessert i’d expect to see on an upper class tasting menu. i mean—torte setteveli, poached pear in port, and sorbet in a crispy rice paper–come on! (beware, you must specify you want this vegan, otherwise the sorbet component will contain animal products.) the best of the 3 desserts, OF COURSE, was the torte. we are talking a homemade mini slice of cake filled with chocolate, topped with hazelnut frosting and frangelico liqueur. i die!

    hugo’s has really outdone themselves this month with the specials, and i am so happy that every single one can be veganized. be sure to get over to the restaurant this september and check them out!

    hugos’ restaurant
    8401 Santa Monica Blvd.
    West Hollywood, CA 90069
    (323) 654-3993
    12851 Riverside Drive
    Studio City, CA 91607
    (818) 761-8985

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20 responses to “happy birthday, hugo’s! amazing new vegan specials!” RSS icon

  • I shall be going there tonight! Thanks, QG for breaking the news.

  • Bring back the Soul Food Plate!!!!!!!

  • Of course I would choose September to be on an all whole foods, no sweets whatsoever cleanse! Please enjoy all this bounty for me!

  • Vegan carbonara?! I cannot believe my eyes. I am definitely gonna check these out.

  • I wish I had known about this yesterday (by like, oh, I don’t know, checking my email?) because I was at Hugo’s Tacos on Coldwater Canyon last night.

    That potato pancake sandwich?

    Must have, must have, must have…

  • What Jackie said. Vegan carbonara – that’s a gift from the gods.

  • Looks delicious!!!

  • Oh my. I want to lick my computer.

  • Very excited that Hugo’s has decided to make even more vegan options on their menu. These look especially good. Particularly excited about the Pasta Mama as it’s one of the things that has always sounded like it would be great vegan. Might have to eat all of these.

  • Holy crap, when I saw what the new specials were I thought they sounded really good–but your photos make them look out of this world!

  • Food looks pretty good….I also notice that the specials don’t always last till the end of the month…so if you plan to try….go early.

  • Hugo’s Specials typically last until the first Wednesday of the following month in Studio City and first Thursday in West Hollywood. October 3rd and 4th in this case. Enjoy!

  • The sunflower seed cream sauce sounds interesting. I’ve never had a vegan cream sauce I liked, they’ve all tasted like soymilk + flour.

  • Hugo

    My wife and I were in there the last week of July, July 31st (Saturday) and was told by the waiter that the July specials were no longer available.

  • Screwdriver

    Which of the Hugo’s were you when you were told this? Sometimes toward the end of a cycle specials will run out and not be made again but never the whole menu.

  • Thank you SO MUCH for posting about these specials! I went to the Studio City Hugo’s last night and got the New Age Pasta Mama. It was beautiful. I am so happy they made it vegan, because I’ve always wanted to try it.

  • Hugo

    One on Riverside and Coldwater….Was there around 11 AM. No biggie, since I have eaten there a few times since, and will try these new specials…..

  • I would like to report that I went for lunch today and split the pasta mama, the carbonara, and the tofu potato pancake sandwich. All three were excellent. The carbonara was everyone’s clear favorite. I thought the sandwich was very good although my husband said he wouldn’t go for it again. The pasta mama was the least exciting (but still really good). We asked for some red pepper flakes and that made a difference. Sad that we didn’t have room for dessert. Bravo Hugo’s.

  • I was in Hugo’s tonight and had the Carbonara which was super delish, then topped it off by sharing the trio of desserts with my non-vegan friend. He could absolutely not believe the chocolate cake was Veg, it was so crazy yummy, I want to go again tomorrow night.


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