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Photo by Troy Fields

Caracol

Photo by Troy Fields
Caracol is the latest restaurant from duo Tracy Vaught and Hugo Ortega, who also own and operate Backstreet Cafe and Hugo's. Caracol is a nod to Ortega's Mexican roots and his love of the seemingly endless Mexican coastline, particularly around the Yucatan Peninsula. The lengthy menu of this Galleria-area restaurant is largely seafood, but Ortega does include some Hugo's standbys, like his signature mole and more traditional central Mexican cuisine. It's the seafood that really shines, though — particularly the roasted oysters, octopus salad and whole-roasted fish, all of which are treated with the respect the top-quality ingredients deserve. Sean Beck heads the beverage development, and Ortega's brother, Reuben, makes the desserts, which are unique and wonderful with a glass of carefully curated bubbly or one of Beck's exotic mezcal cocktails. In the evening, the bar becomes a place to see and be seen, but the restaurant half of the space remains a good spot for a lively family meal.

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