- Atlanta Eats Sean Spalding
The octopus has long been considered a mystical being -- a sea monster of sorts -- but it's not so scary when it's on your plate. Octopus has been popping up on menus everywhere in the past few years, including around Atlanta. The octopus has eight tentacles, so here are eight places to sink your fork, or chopsticks, into octopus around Atlanta.
Kyma (Buckhead)Chef Pano's style is to keep things simple, allowing pristine ingredients shine with minimal fuss. Octopi are braised in red wine vinegar, bay leaves and black peppercorns until tender, chilled, then grilled over a wood fire while getting basted with red wine vinaigrette. The Mediterranean courtship continues as tentacles are sliced into medallions and tossed with pickled red onions.
Floataway Café (Intown)The understated sibling of Bacchanalia serves octopus as a warm starter. A single crisp tentacle reveals a tender interior, mingling with fingerling potatoes and Romesco, or perhaps garbanzo beans, serrano ham, tart yogurt and cumin vinaigrette.
Valenza (Brookhaven)This somewhat underrated Brookhaven Italian hotspot serves grilled Mediterranean polpo as a warm antipasti in stew form with panelle, ceci beans, olives, san marzano tomato and chili oil.
Boccalupo (Inman Park)This Inman Park darling has many notable dishes, on being a spiedino, or skewer of plump cubes of housemade mortadella and octopus tentacles over a bowl of field peas, bacon, braised escarole and marsala sauce.
Sushi House Hayakawa (Buford Highway)Octopodes come in many forms here. Tako karaage stars deep fried whole baby octopus, while another interesting dish is balls of chopped octopus rolls and fried, served screaming hot over a seasoned mayo and crowned by thin dancing feathers of bonito flakes.
Alma Cocina (Downtown)Eight legged creatures get the Latino treatment, served in ceviche form, octopus is first braised with red wine vinegar, citrus juices and aromatic spices before it is chilled and thinly sliced, joined by mango-tomatillo salpicon, habanero, and avocado.
Optimist (West side)Their spicy grilled octopus stars a single thick and smoky grilled tentacle over bone marrow aioli, crispy potato croutons, gremolata and beef jus.
Bacchanalia (West side)Chef David Carson's prix fixe menu is constantly changing, but one may be lucky enough to snag a table when wood-grilled octopus is in the house. A tidy mound of tender tentacles, over deep green watercress puree dotted with bright orange preserved chile sauce is akin to eating jewelry.
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