Among Downtown restaurants, there are those that want to be cutting edge and cool . . . and then there are places like Hugo’s, which will never change. Nor does anyone want it to. As they’ve been doing since they opened, all women receive a red rose when they descend into the below-street-level restaurant, and the rest of the night includes many other rituals, all of which are orchestrated by the affable, well-mannered, and devoted waitstaff. Their duties extend beyond taking and bringing your orders; salads are prepared from a cart they roll up to your table, with choices like shrimp, marinated artichokes, hearts of palm, and chopped eggs, to be tossed with romaine lettuce. Watch as they deftly prepare one to your specifications. They’ll also carefully recommend mains, which aren’t as exciting as the salad, but come with grandiose names like “chicken champignon” and “duckling anise flambé”—it’s nice to know these continental standards of a bygone era have somehow survived here. Desserts are included with your entree, so you must have the bananas foster or cherries jubilee, which is also prepared tableside, and set ablaze (hooray!). Considering how the Las Vegas culinary scene has evolved in the last decade, it’s not a bad idea to see where it all started.
- Grace Bascos