They chose to visit Ugo's Kitchen and Bar in Logan Square, a young restaurant owned and operated by Chef Stephen Hasson, whose background is mainly in the most prestigious fine dining restaurants in Chicago. Ugo's, named after Chef Hasson's beloved grandfather, opened last fall, serving Italian favorites made with the highest quality ingredients in a casual setting.
Of course, the evening began with a few cocktails. Brandy went with the the tart and smokey Middleton, made with rye, cherry liquor, and lime juice, which she felt was an excellent sipping drink, while Starr picked the Vera, a refreshing and soft concoction made with gin, citrus, rosemary, and aloe liqueur with a slightly herbacious flavor, but they both agreed that the Blood Orange Daiquiri was their favorite with a refined sweetness and a stunningly delicious and delicate floral flavor from the addition of hibiscus.
Next up, the two enjoyed the house Kale Caesar Salad and some of the Market Bruschetta. The bruschetta had a very complex flavor that started off herbal and vegetative before ending on a sweet note, but was still very fresh tasting, having been topped with eggplant, olives, tomatoes, and capers. "How very interesting!" Brandy exclaimed after the first bite, "This tastes exactly like sitting under the Tuscan sun in August!" The salad was a nice twist on the classic Caesar with the kale giving it a more interesting texture. The addition of filleted anchovies also added quite a punch of fishy flavor that would make any seafood addict swoon.
Following that, Starr and Brandy indulged in both of the pasta dishes on the menu, a Carbonara and a Pappardelle, both of which were prepared with house made pasta. The Carbonara was incredibly creamy and decadent without being overwhelmed by the crispy pancetta, while the pasta itself was amazingly tender and delicate. The Pappardelle had been dressed with maitake mushrooms, olives, hazelnuts, arugula pesto, and some shaved parmesan and was also impossibly tender and delicate while still holding up under the weight of all the other ingredients. The flavor of this dish was very earthy, but a few pickled ramps helped to brighten things up. "If that bruschetta was an afternoon in Tuscany, this pasta is an early evening in the forests of Calabria!" said Brandy.
Even after missing out on a day's worth of brunch, Brandy suddenly felt much better about life after discovering Ugo's brand of handmade and high quality, yet rustic Italian favorites. "The funny thing is, I never would have discovered this spot if it hadn't been for the fact that I slept past brunch," said Brandy, "It just goes to show you that sometimes things are just meant to be, and I was certainly meant to come and enjoy this meal. Though I can't help wondering what a place like this could do with a brunch menu!"
The writers of this blog were invited by the restaurant to dine free of charge in order to facilitate the writing of this post.