Hugo Ortega is largely credited with introducing Houstonians to the foodways of Mexico. His namesake restaurant, Hugo’s, on Westheimer captivates with soulful interior specialties, while Caracol showcases Mexico’s lilting coastal cuisines. Ceviches and crudos shine against a snow-white interior dressed with deep-sea creatures by renowned illustrator Charley Harper. Jalapeño and ginger give great spark and crunch to conch, while scallops combined with sweet mango, papaya and lime crudos dance merrily between sweet, salty and tangy. A house favorite is oysters smoked in a wood-burning domed oven, then drizzled with a luscious chipotle butter. The menu leans toward seafood, but there are meatier options, such as bone-in short rib with cocoa nib and roasted duck with pumpkin seed sauce.
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