• Sunday , 21 January 2018

Hugo’s Frog Bar Serves Killer Steak, Seafood and Service

Photos, story by Cassie Hepler

Once you wind your way through all the blinking lights, video game noises and faint smoke smell of the SugarHouse Casino, you will find Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House a welcome and tastebud transporting respite from the bling and gambling hustle and bustle outside. However, if you sign up your first time after you nosh, you get at least $25 free play which is pretty fun after a good wine buzz.

Gibsons Restaurant Group came to Philly to dip their toes in the waterfront location as its first and only Philadelphia restaurant. Gibsons’ lucky number 13th location, they are the only restaurant group in the country to have their own USDA Prime Angus beef certification. Meat lovers rejoice, this is a place where they show you the goods before it is cooked.

Located in the northwest corner of the first floor, the combined seating in the bar (still noisy/smelly, go back further if you can) and dining rooms accommodates more than 300 guests. The restaurant also features a riverfront patio for outdoor dining for complete I’m-not-in-a-casino-oasis. Hugo’s classic steakhouse contemporary design offers an upscale feel while the casino keeps the dress code pretty casual.

You know you are inside the SugarHouse casino when you see these shiny words.

You know you are inside the SugarHouse casino when you see these shiny words.

Look for this discreet sign and the telltale frog in a glass case out front.

Look for this discreet sign and the telltale frog in a glass case out front.

Starting off with a strong bourbon cocktail that is like three stiff drinks in one.

Starting off with a Rush Street Manhattan with Woodford Reserve bourbon, cherry herring, orange bitters and a cherry is like three stiff drinks in one and will knock your socks off.

Getting some bubbles on an empty stomach is always a good idea... right?

Getting some bubbles on an empty stomach is always a good idea… right?

Personal sized bottles of Moet & Chandon were excellent in value and taste. The grapes are grown next to the same fields in France as Dom Perignon at a fraction of the price.

Personal sized bottles of Moet & Chandon were excellent in value and tart taste. The grapes are grown next to the same fields in France as Dom Perignon at a fraction of the price.

Usually not one to carb load with bread, we both had to indulge with our protein heavy appetizers to stay upright.

Usually not one to carb load with bread, we both had to indulge with our protein heavy appetizers to stay upright and were loving the loafs available, the multigrain was perfection.

Our awesome waiter, Garfield from Jamaica, brought out this salivating plate of raw meat to choose from. It took all of my date's courage not to just tear into a piece right then and there.

Our awesome waiter, Garfield from Jamaica, brought out this salivating plate of raw meat to choose from. It took all of my date’s courage not to just tear into a piece right then and there.

Offering rotating oysters throughout the season, we tried four of each with the most heavenly frozen cucumber dressing alternating between the cocktail sauce.

Offering rotating oysters throughout the season, we tried four of each with the most heavenly frozen cucumber dressing alternating between the cocktail sauce. We tried a couple different coasts that day from California to Cape May, N.J. and Massachusetts.

Because we were in a frog bar, we had to try the frog legs for you guys. It was a marriage of fish and chicken with a nice toasted shallot taste and much better than fried frog legs.

Because we were in a frog bar, we had to try the frog legs for you guys. It was a marriage of fish and chicken with a nice toasted shallot taste and much better than fried frog legs.

My date had never had soft shell crabs and was instantly in love with this perfectly flash fried one. That's two people I have converted recently. What's not to love, no digging just eating!

My date had never had soft shell crabs and was instantly in love with this perfectly flash fried one. That’s two people I have converted recently. What’s not to love, no digging just eating!

The "spicy" lobster cobb salad with some cracked pepper was not spicy at all. The lobster was sweet, succulent and the

The “spicy” lobster cobb salad with some cracked pepper was not spicy at all. The lobster was sweet, succulent and the artichoke, tomato, avocado, asparagus and lettuce made a huge veggie feast enough for three or four people.

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My date delved into the reds and found this Lyric by Etude from Monterey to be nothing too remarkable.

I love a good white wine and tried the chardonnay from Blah but was not in love. Back to France I went with this lovely rose with it's delicious notes of minerals and floral bouquet.

I love a good white wine and tried a California chardonnay sample but was not in love. Back to France I went with this lovely Gueissard rose with its delicious mineral notes.

My date decided on some bubbles of her own and enjoyed a baby bottle of

My date decided on some bubbles of her own and enjoyed a baby bottle of Italian Lamarca prosecco.

The best filet mignon we've ever had. Eyes were shut, noises were made and chef's recommendation cooking is the way to go with this

The best filet mignon we’ve ever had. Eyes were shut, noises were made and chef’s recommendation cooking is the way to go with this 12 ounce perfectly seasoned slice of beef.

A light, fluffy and delicious Australian lobster dipped in butter was the perfect compliment to the filet.

A light, fluffy and delicious Australian lobster dipped in butter was the perfect compliment to the filet. My date was telling me and Garfield tales of eating mass quantities of balmain bugs also known as yabbies when she was Down Under which inspired us to try their bigger brother.

Usually one to go for fries, we switched it up with mashed potatoes that were big enough for two or more as a side.

Usually one to go for fries, we switched it up with mashed potatoes that were big enough for two or more as a side.

Mushrooms are a staple with steak and these guys were not too greasy as many steakhouses do.

Mushrooms are a staple with steak and these guys were not too greasy as many steakhouses cook them.

Perfectly light and seasoned brussel sprouts

Perfectly light and seasoned brussels sprouts with just a sprinkle of bacon thrown in to make it unhealthy.

The king crab mac & cheese was super creamy, not too cheesy and some decent chunks of king crab in there.

The king crab mac & cheese was super creamy, not too cheesy and some decent chunks of king crab in there.

Because we were told to try this one as well,

Because we were told to try this one as well, W.R.’s Chicago Cut is a homage to a food writer in their mothership city. It was not as tender and dreamy as the filet but we wouldn’t kick it out of bed in the morning. Plus we can only hope someone names a steak the Explore Philly someday!

As part of its extensive menu, Hugo’s is serving USDA Gibsons Prime Angus Beef, which is aged for 50 days and cooked in an 1,800-degree infrared broiler. This gives the steak a thin, charred crust to help seal in the natural juices. The “Philly Cut” is a 12-ounce rib eye cap, topped with smoked provolone, crispy shallots and fried herbs. This steak is served only at Hugo’s SugarHouse location.

The dining room view while we digested a bit from our medley of a meal. Take home containers are a necessity at Hugo's!

The dining room view while we digested a bit from our medley of a meal. Take home containers are a necessity at Hugo’s! Just wait…

We order a slice of cake and some chocolate mousse and this is what Garfield comes out with! "I told you it was large," he warned. We couldn't believe our eyes!

We order a slice of cake and some chocolate mousse and this is what Garfield comes out with! “I told you it was large,” he warned. We couldn’t believe our eyes!

This is the Meaning of Life cake and costs $18. It is pretty much a whole cake just build sky high and stabbed with a knife to keep it stable. Chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, bananas, strawberries and whipped topping makes this so delicious. We had strangers coming over to marvel at it and shared slices with them, naturally and still had two huge cake boxes to take home and freeze.

This is the Meaning of Life cake and costs $18. It is pretty much a whole cake just built sky high and stabbed with a knife to keep it stable. Chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, bananas, strawberries and whipped topping makes this so delicious. We had strangers coming over to marvel at it and shared slices with them, naturally and still had two huge cake boxes to take home and freeze.

The chocolate mousse "slice" was equally as ridiculously large at the same price point. About the size of a small cake or large quarter of a large cake, it was not too sweet and light and creamy.

The chocolate mousse “slice” was equally as ridiculously large at the same price point. About the size of a small cake or large quarter of a large cake, it was not too sweet and light and creamy. Hugo’s would obviously be a great spot for a birthday party as one “slice” feeds oh, about 10 to 20 people!

Gibsons Restaurant Group is also the exclusive caterer for the brand-new SugarHouse Casino Event Center, which boasts customizable menus that feature iconic cuts of USDA Gibsons Prime Angus Beef and a pristine selection of fine seafood.

And if the pricing scares you, dip your toes into the happy hour and a buck a shuck oysters. You’ll soon be hooked!

 

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