Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hugo's Spanish Restaurant, Tampa, FL

I always carry around my own little personal restaurant rating system in my brain, with 1 being "deplorable" (that would be you,Village Pub) and 10 being "orgasmic" (which would be you, Beach Bistro).  After today's lunch at Hugo's, I am forced to now create a 0 rating...which I'll define as an "abomination".  So awesome to be able to establish a new bar on my 200th blog post...however low it may be.  At least our "meal" only set us back $28 before tip.

I have no idea how this establishment has withstood the test of almost forty years of time.  The interior was fine and casual, as expected.  My only requirements were a cold beer and a decent Cuban sandwich after the insufferable ordeal I'd just endured sporting 3-D glasses for 2.5 hours and trying to figure out what in God's name Star Trek into Darkness was even about.

So far, so good.  Our server, gawd love her, had all the enthusiasm and zest of someone who'd just awakened from a 20-year coma.  She brought beers pretty quickly, for which I'll give her a couple of bonus points.  After finally ambling over to take my order (from a very short menu that requires little time to peruse), she began to wander away before the spousal unit reeled her back over to tell her what he'd like.

Every item we ordered was abysmal.  Yes, I can be a food snob...but I can also be thrilled by a perfect empanada, burger, hot dog or I feel like my assessment is fair.

The Spanish Bean Soup was served lukewarm (as was everything else presented to us) and was startlingly bland. Has anyone heard of ham hock around these parts? Maybe you guys should give the Columbia a call...perhaps they would be charitable enough to tell you how it's done. The toasted slabs of Cuban bread which accompanied the soup were pretty much the only menu offerings we actually consumed.

UD's Black Beans and Rice were totally devoid of flavor and delivered practically congealed at room temp.  His side order of Deviled Crab was the most loathsome and sickening version of said dish I've ever tasted.  I thought the one I tried at Carmine's in Ybor was disgusting, but at least I didn't have to spit my bite of that one into my napkin to avoid regurgitation.  Watery and cold on the inside, fishy tasting and clearly comprised of the lowest and cheapest form of crab meat available, this revolting clod of God-knows-what left me bitterly wishing we'd just gone to a chain resto. Actually, Sweet Tomatoes sounds really good right about now.

My "Award-Winning" Cuban consisted of little more than cheap, shaved deli ham with Swiss cheese sandwiched between a (barely) pressed slab of Cuban bread.  I'm not sure what criteria have been considered to bestow "honors" on this completely lackluster excuse for a Cuban Sandwich because I'd feel guilty putting it in second grader's lunch box.

We left 80% of our food untouched here.  Did we want a "to-go" box?  Hells to the No!  Is this place for real? I now have the Poison Control Center's Hotline on speed dial. Unspeakably horrible.

Hugo's Spanish on Urbanspoon

My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.


  1. Great review Sweet Polly...the writing, not the venue. The horror!

  2. I would have to respectfully disagree with you. I have been a customer for over 25 years and I can assure you thaat this is the best cuban food in town but dont take my word for it just look at the awards on the wall..those dont lie. You must just be a very picky eater which is weird because I can only imagine you as very over weight. Anyone who rates a restaraunt on a scale from 1 to 10 and with such detail must have way to much time on their hands. If everyone felt the way you did Hugos would not still be in business after so many years...think about it? This place has got my vote all the way around!

  3. You're certainly entitled to your opinion. Actually, I'm not "picky" but I do demand quality. You must have extra time on your hands, as well, to care about my opinion enough to reply. You may visualize my weight any way you wish to. lol