Our 11 Best Octopuses in NYC
When you think of octopus, the first thing that pops into your head is the standard recipe found at Greek restaurants, where the cephalopod is served charred from the grill and dripping with red-wine vinegar. But even the Greeks have lots of different methods of preparation, and so do the Turks, Japanese, Koreans, Cubans, and Italians.
Known as Octopus vulgaris, and a member of the mollusk family (along with 299 other octopus species), the cephalopod that's the subject of this list must be beaten extensively to tenderize it, but still remains ropy and rubbery in most recipes -- which is part of its appeal, of course. Because, ultimately, octopus is for those who like to chew.
Since we couldn't bear to winnow the list down to 10, we're giving you 11.
11. Tandoori Octopus at Tabla: Blackened at the edges and smeared with cilantro chutney, chef Floyd Cardoz's tandoori-oven-cooked tentacles send the octopod in unexpected flavor directions, making us wonder why no one ever thought of this cooking method before. 11 Madison Avenue, 212-889-0667
10. Grilled Htapodi at Spartan Souvlaki: Cooked in the standard way at this gussied-up Greek diner, the serving is especially large, the price astonishingly cheap, and the rubbery tentacles possess a gluey quality that suggests prolonged beatings. 6820 Eighth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-748-5838
9. Octopus Casserole at Marmaris: Who'd have thought that octopus could double for macaroni in a delicious cheese casserole with onions, tomatoes, peppers, and mushrooms at this seaside Turk? What a gutbomb! 3081 Emmons Avenue, Brooklyn, 347-462-4444
8. Octopus Appetizer at Saraghina: No one would expect a Bed-Stuy pizza parlor to do well by our eight-armed friend, but Saraghina does, tossing tentacles in a piquant salad with plenty of onions and garlic. 435 Halsey Street, Brooklyn, 718-574-1988
7. Potato-Wrapped Tentacle at Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar: The crisp potato wrapper adds a brilliant new dimension to chew and squish, buoyed up with an avocado puree that adds richness and color. 101 Second Avenue, 212-979-1012
6. Raw Baby Octopus at Soba Totto: Maybe you're not ready for this yet, but baby octopi -- studded with capers and smeared with fresh wasabi -- isn't rubbery at all, but slimy and gooey in the extreme, and loads of fun to eat after an initial shiver. 211 East 43rd Street, 212-557-8200