Review: Hugo’s Pizzeria
David Bailey has scored another win with his new spot, Hugo’s Pizzeria. Located across the street from Pappy’s and Southern, it continues his tradition of focusing on house-made items, which here include condiments, pepperoni, bacon, mozzarella cheese and, of course, pizza crust. Formerly Good Pie, the interior is now sleek with a lively bar room, large dining room and attractive outdoor patio. The walls are exposed brick, and a bank of large windows looks out onto Olive Street. The wood tables are a mix of standard and high top, and the chairs offer bright pops of color.
The menu is attractive and affordable. There is a small starter and salad selection and a set list of 11 pizzas, all of which are 12 inches. Additionally, you can build your own or add ingredients to the listed options. The Fries starter ($9) is delicious, although I’ve never quite understood the attraction of nibbling on fried potatoes pre-meal. These are among the better ones I’ve tasted, topped with ‘Hugo’s Sauce’ (a thick, sweet and spicy tomato sauce), house-made mozzarella and tiny bits of house-made pepperoni. (Fair warning: The pepperoni is super spicy. It has large bits of pepper and is made with beef, not pork.) The whole was fired under the broiler to yield slightly browned fries and a bubbling, cheesy top.
Also sampled were the Sweet Herb Wings ($9), a plateful of sticky wings flavored with a strong spice—I believe it was clove. I found it jarring, especially since I was expecting herbs, as stated on the menu!
But a couple of greens dishes were superb. The Sautéed Brussels Sprouts ($7) were well-executed in every detail. Served in a cast iron ramekin, the sprouts were beautifully browned on the cut side and sprinkled with tangy-sweet balsamic vinegar. Crisp asiago cheese dotted the top, along with possibly the best local bacon I’ve tasted. It was well-cooked to crisp, yielding crunchy goodness that released its fat when you bit into it.
The Florence Salad ($7 for small, $10 for large) was a fresh plateful of chopped arugula and romaine spiced with kalamata olives, local prosciutto and sliced pepperoncini. It came perfectly dressed with a light house Italian.
The pizzas were delightful, with a doughy, bright crust and interesting toppings. Our Green ($13) had a layer of garlic oil with roasted Roma tomatoes, mushrooms, feta, arugula and broccolini. The House Pepperoni ($12) had a generous smattering of Hugo’s sauce, that delicious mozzarella and slices of pepperoni. My favorite was the Sausage ($13), which came loaded with crumbled Italian pork sausage, caraway seeds, pickled onion, oregano and gooey mozzarella. The Hugo’s Sauce works well with the pizza.
A build-your-own pizza ($14) also was quite good, made with anchovies, pickled onion, mushrooms and melted fontina cheese.
We ordered the sole dessert, Blondie ($7). It came out burnt the first time and undercooked the second, so they removed it from our bill. It consists of cookie dough half-baked in a round tin and topped with caramel sauce and house-made ice cream.
the scene | Busy, attractive pizza spot
the chef | Stephen Trouvere
the prices | $5-$10 starters and salads, $11-$14 pizzas
the favorites | House Bacon, Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, Sausage Pizza, Florence Salad
food • ŏ • lō • gy
pickled onion | A traditional condiment made by soaking onions in vinegar, sugar and salt for at least an hour
pepperoncini | Typically refers to the pickled version of a particular mild yellow-green pepper (sometimes banana peppers and yellow wax peppers are used)
pepperoni | A smoked American salami usually made with a mix of cured pork and beef, with paprika, peppercorn and chili pepper
3135 olive st. | 314.896.4846
Pictured at top: Farm pizza with Hugo’s sauce, arugula, roasted red pepper, farm egg, house bacon
Photos: Bill Barrett