From the Kitchen of Hugo's Seafood & Steakhouse

A White Linen Service & Experience That is Sure to Spark Your Interest

Pink's monthly article "From the Kitchen of" gives readers an insider look at culinary masterpieces from favorite Lowcountry restaurants. This month we are featuring a fabulous Ahi Tuna Steak Au Poivre with Mustard Cognac Sauce recipe created by the culinary team at Hugo's Seafood & Steakhouse. Founded and influenced by owner Hugo Arrieta, the restaurant's culinary team includes: Executive Chef Larry Schneider and Creative Culinary Consultant Keith Jodway, who work together to create a spectacular dining experience.

Hugo Arrieta is from Argentina, where he learned the art of cooking table side at the age of 15. In the '60s, Hugo moved to New York, where he honed his culinary skills working in high-end restaurants. In 1977, Hugo decided to settle somewhere a little warmer. He said, "I found a little paradise by the water, called Hilton Head Island."  He became the manager of Fitzgerald's, the premier restaurant on Hilton Head at that time, where he was surrounded by great people who had a passion for food and show. After almost 30 years, Fitzgerald's closed it's doors. With that, Hugo opened Hugo's Seafood and Steakhouse in 2006, bringing many of his current clientele and friends, infusing his unique qualities with local southern tradition, and a wine cellar that offers the smooth taste of Argentinian influence. If you have the time, visit with Hugo. Every picture in the restaurant tells a story, and he has tales that are worth hearing over and over!

A restaurant is only as good as the people in the kitchen, and Hugo's Seafood & Steakhouse has two chefs that are whipping up new creations every day. Executive Chef Larry Schneider grew up in a culinary family with Italian influences and German accents, which sparked his interest in cooking. He later graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. Chef Schneider says that he has worked in everything from five-star restaurants to taverns, each adding a new dimension to his cooking repertoire. His favorite food to cook is authentic french cuisine, which conveniently, is his favorite to eat as well!

Also creating masterpieces in the Hugo's kitchen is Creative Culinary Consultant Keith Jodway. Growing up in Detroit, Michigan you could say cooking is his legacy. His grandfather owned and operated 42 restaurants in the Detroit area, four of which Chef Jodway worked in from an early age. He then trained in Chambery, France, and worked as a sous chef at Rockefeller Center's famous Sea Grill in New York City, moving on to cook in San Francisco and Hawaii, before bringing the unique tastes of his experiences to South Carolina. More recently, he has appeared on the "Today Show" and Food Network's "Chopped." He says his favorite food to cook is anything that offers fresh fish and unusual ingredients. He loves to create a new flavor or palatable concept.

Cozily situated in the corner of South Island Square on Hilton Head Island, Hugo's Seafood & Steakhouse has doubled the size of their restaurant, creating a new buzz on the island. It now boasts a private dining area perfect for a ladies' luncheon, business meeting, or private party, and they are offering a menu 35 years in the making!

With the experience of the culinary team, Hugo's Seafood & Steakhouse has become an award-winning restaurant! They won the 2013 Restaurant Week: People's Choice Winner for Best Restaurant; the 2013 VIM Soup Challenge with their Hilton Head Crab and Asparagus Cappuccino Soup; and the 2012 Taste of the Season People's Choice Winner for Best Cuisine with the Surf and Turf Lollipops. Award-winning food, a comfortable atmosphere, and great variety is the epitome of the perfect meal.and Hugo's Seafood & Steakhouse is serving up all three!

Ahi Tuna Steak Au Poivre

with Mustard Congac Sauce,
Asparagus and Buenos Aires Rice

Serves 4 people
For the Buenos Aires Rice:
1 Tbsp Unsalted butter        º cup Spanish onions, chopped
º cup Celery, chopped        1Ω cups Long grain white rice
3 cups Chicken stock            Salt and pepper
º cup Bell peppers, chopped (red, green and yellow)

In a medium size sauce pot, sweat the vegetables in butter until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the rice and chicken stock, bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 20 minutes on low heat.

For the Mustard Cognac Sauce:
1 Tbsp  Dijon mustard                   6 oz. Quality cognac
1 cup Heavy whipping cream        1 Tbsp Unsalted butter
1 tsp Lemon juice                          Salt and pepper

Heat a small sauce pot with mustard and cognac, then CAREFULLY ignite the cognac. After most of the flames die down, pour in the heavy cream and reduce by about Ω over a simmer. Add the butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Hold warm until ready to serve.

For the Ahi Tuna:

4 (6 oz.) fresh Ahi tuna portions    1 Tbsp Grape seed oil
2 Tbsp Black pepper, course ground    1 lb. Cooked asparagus
6 oz. Watermelon radish, sliced thin (optional, as a garnish)
Method and assembly:
Heat a large heavy skillet or sautÈ pan on very high heat with the grape seed oil. Press the tuna into the ground black pepper on one side only and sear (pepper-side down) for about 45-50 seconds. Then turn and repeat, quickly removing from heat to serve rare (for medium-reduce heat and cook for an additional 2 minutes) Next pool the mustard sauce equally on 4 plates, spoon on the rice and arrange asparagus artfully. Slice each piece of tuna in half, placing on top of the rice and garnish with watermelon radish. Enjoy.

FlambÈ: Spark up your night with a sweet flaming surprise.prepared table side! Choose from Bananas Foster, Cherries Jubilee, Flaming Apple Crisp, or Peaches and Cream. Hugo's is the only Lowcountry restaurant offering these delicious, classic flaming desserts!

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