It never ceases to amaze me how twenty minutes on the New York City subway can take you to what seems to be an entirely different city. I recently hopped on the F train to meet Austen, one of my best friends and old roommate in DC who recently made the leap to the Big Apple, to explore Park Slope for brunch.
I’ve been to Park Slope a few times, a dinner here and there and some Prospect Park adventuring, and have always been impressed by its low-key, neighborhood feel. As we strolled up to Hugo & Sons, our restaurant of choice on a lazy Saturday afternoon, we both commented on the lack of skyscrapers, or a skyline view in general, and how the family-friendly locale was reminiscent of our old home, Washington DC.
I had heard some ramblings of excellent pasta at Hugo & Sons from local media, but the eatery hadn’t been on my brunch radar until they graciously invited us in to sample the menu. I was intrigued by its takes on classic American fare with an Italian twist and fresh pressed juice. It seems like there’s a little something for everyone on the menu.
We pretty much had the restaurant to ourselves during the majority of our meal so it appears Hugo & Sons’ brunch offering is under the radar to much of the neighborhood as well, which is a shame because the restaurant is absolutely charming. It had rustic touches that hinted towards vintage diner vibe, but the interior was still clean and airy.
Austen and I had both started our days with a work out so we kept up the pretense of having a healthy day and split a green juice to start. We were presented with a generous portion of cucumber, lime, celery, apple, and kale, which had a slightly sweet aftertaste.
After getting our daily dose of greens, we dove into a round of cocktails – much needed, as we had a ton of girl talk to catch up on. Austen is a sucker for prosecco and sweets so I wasn’t surprised that she ordered the Sgroppino, which contains vodka, prosecco, and lemon sorbet. Her drink was decadent and dessert-like, but she couldn’t have more than one.
For variety’s sake, I sampled the gin fizz, served classically with gin, egg white, and lemon. Although both cocktails were complicated (in a good way) and easy to drink, we both agreed that my frothy beverage was the winner and Austen switched over to it for her second round.
Being good friends, we decided to split a few entrees rather than commit to one each. Our friendly server raved about the baked eggs (there are three types on the menu) and we ultimately selected the cocotte with peas, artichokes, kale, and pecorino. We enjoyed the abundance of green veggies, but the dish wasn’t as flavorful as we desired.
Next we had the substantial Croque Monseuir sandwich, basically a fancy grilled cheese with ham. It’s pretty hard to mess up grilled cheese and this sandwich didn’t disappoint. The bread was crispy, the cheese was gooey, and it was easy to share.
Both Austen and I have epic sweet tooths so we had to conclude our meal with some dessert. The lemon ricotta pancakes came recommended and with good reason; the dish looked simple, but packed a punch with fresh, zesty lemon flavor.
The pancakes barely necessitated any syrup because they were plenty sweet when topped with an assortment of berries. We were beyond full at this point, but kept picking at the pancakes as we lingered with our cocktails.
The Bitches say Four Champagne flutes. Cute ambiance, great cocktails, and some solid entrée choices. Definitely worth trying if you’re in the neighborhood, especially those lemon ricotta pancakes.
Hugo & Sons serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.