Top 100 U.S. Restaurants 2016

No. 37: Hugo's

It is rare when a restaurant continues to turn out high-quality food after the departure of its founder. But based on the amazing job that Andrew Taylor, Mike Wiley and GM Arlin Smith have been doing since they purchased Hugo’s from Rob Evans, it appears they have defied the odds. Not only have the trio completely refurbished the place, replacing the stodgy old dining room with a hipsterish 19-seat counter, complemented by a few tables along the back wall, reviewers are saying things like “at the moment, the restaurant is turning out some of the best food in the country.” One even went as far as to say his meal was reminiscent of Saison (number 1 in our 2014 survey.) That is rarified air indeed.

No. 2 Top Restaurant in New England

By Steve Plotnicki

Portland, Maine, is the last place one expects to find progressive cooking. But that's what Rob Evans, a self-taught chef who originally trained to be an electrician, serves his customers, many of whom have traveled from out of state to eat there. In addition to a terrific in-house charcuterie program that is lorded over by executive chef Andrew Taylor, the daily menu features 15 different offerings, including creations like cornmeal-crusted soft-shell lobster with creamed corn gazpacho, foraged mushrooms, leeks and marjoram; confit of foie gras topped with salted and pickled cherries; and slow-cooked and honey-glazed Luce Farms pork belly with cabbage, apple, onion relish and charred rosemary. Even the desserts, like the house vanilla sundae with "usual and unusual toppings," get into the progressive act.