We met friends for dinner last night at their choice, Spaghetti Warehouse, a chain that screws up everything (IMO) except their very more than passable canneloni and the one true standout; fried calamari. It’s lightly dredged in peppery flour (doesn’t seem battered) and served with aioli and marinara. We’re currently located in landlocked western TX but I developed my love for good fried calimari in FL, CT and NY, and this is among the best I’ve ever had. It’s always tender and perfectly fried. In fact, I consider it a wonder of nowheresville dining, because it always seems fresh. Everything else at that place seems as if it came out of a plastic bag or freezer case, but that calimari is truly outstanding.
Best fried calamari I’ve ever had was at Rose’s in Morro Bay.. only place I’ve ever had it where they didn’t overcook it.. pay a little extra to get it with the best garlic fries in the world. Not just chopped garlic thrown on top like some places, but it tastes like garlic is cooked into the fries.. YUM!
Calamari is best when it has been prepared fresh rather than frozen.
Usually, the only fresh calamari that you will find is on the west coast.
However, if the many restaurants that serve fried calamari around the country
would "soak" them in milk overnight, they will end up with a product that has the texture of fresh, unfrozen calamari.
I like the calamari fried crispy with lightly spiced batter, and served with cocktail dip. The heavily breaded or battered elastic bands, no.
Some of the best I’ve had were at the restaurant on the Anna Maria City Pier in Florida.
I love calamari- have had it done in small rings dusted with flour and fried served with pesto sour cream dip, big rings done with italian breading and marinara dip, chinese salt and pepper squid cut into chunks and fried and grilled with house made bbq and honey mustard sauces. I worked at a restaurant that used to put five spice in the seasoning- it was tasty.
The only stuff I detest are those pre-breaded elastic bands that places serve. I always ask if a resto breads their own or not after making the mistake of just ordering too many times.
friend of mine just told me about a place on staten island (new york) that does calamari pizza pies. i’ll be going out and trying it soon and will report back.
Best fried squid I ever ate was at Villa Pensa, a terrific, family-owned restaurant on Grand Str. in NYC’s Little Italy–sadly, it closed a few years ago. Served right out of the fryer, with a flour crust that melted in your mouth, all you needed was a squeeze of lemon–tender sweet perfection. I’ve never tasted its equal. The rest of the menu was terrific too…especially any of the vegetable "contorni" (side dishes) and Southern Italian pastas. So good.
My wife and I love the calamari at Carrabba’s Italian Grille. They serve it with the traditional marinara sauce, and- my favorite, with a spicy Italian pepper and lemon butter sauce, which they call Calamari Ricardo.
===The restaurant had a number different ways of preparing it, including what is sometimes called "poor man’s abalone": lightly breaded and fried.===
That was one of my favorite ways of eating it. I have not seen calamari steaks in a long time. I suspect that they come from very large squid. I would get the steaks pre-tenderized, sort of like a cube steak. We cooked it in an egg batter with wine, lemon and butter.
As for the regular calamari, I am seeing a lot of it served with hot peppers and marinara sauce. That seems to be the standard around here.
My favorite way was at a Chinese restaurant where I would order it in a tempura batter with a Hunan sauce. It was light, crispy and mildly spicy enough to bring a tear or two to your eyes without being that overwhelming. Pass the rice…
I was just looking at my take-out menus from the local Chinese places and none of them carry calamari. Shrimp is the only seafood in these parts.
I had some deep fried calamari once . . . it looked like onion rings. I told my wife that it was GRRREAT!
Then, she told me what it was, and I thought I was going to throw up! [:I]
I know that this "scenario" is trite, but it’s the way I felt at the time! Squid (and octopus)is one of the ugliest creatures on the planet, in my opinion!
However, over the years, I have learned to accept it . . so long as it is FRIED. [:D]
The best I ever had was on the pier in Monterey Bay south of San Fran. That is one of the features in this area. I had it at the place that was at the end of the pier.
Paul, you probably didn’t eat at the place named below if you got your calamari at the end of the pier. In the opinion of many, including yours truly, Abalonetti on Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf, is THE place for squid.
I first had calamari when I moved to Monterey oh so many years ago. The restaurant had a number different ways of preparing it, including what is sometimes called "poor man’s abalone": lightly breaded and fried.
GeoNit, There used to be a Daily Catch on Northern Ave. but it is now gone because of the renovations to that area. I believe that Maria and Paul finally did open another restaurant in the new court house at the other end of Northern Ave. I have never eaten at the Brookline one, my favorite is the original restaurant on Hanover St. in the North End.
If you’re ever in Belleville New Jersey, I’d be interested in your opinion of the special calamari appetizer at Toscani, my favorite Italian restaurant. I’ve touted it elsewhere here, often. It’s lightly breaded and cooked in a balsamic.
Thanks for the compliments Paul! Anybody can debate with me! But I have been IN LOVE with this restaurant for many, many years. All the pasta is cooked to order, the calamari is divine! When I arrive I immediately go into the open kitchen and give a big hug and kiss to the chef. A plate of fried calamari arrives on the table, even though we haven’t ordered it………simply served with lemon wedges. The clams in "white sauce" are hand shucked littlenecks tossed with their own juice, linguine, garlic, white wine and parsley, served in the sautee pan it was all assembled in. A meal of perfection, clean and simple, delicious and perfect. I have said several times here, "If I only had ONE meal to eat in Boston, it would be at The Daily Catch"
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