8 Great Octopus Dishes in L.A.

The grilled octopus appetizer at Cecconi'sEXPAND
The grilled octopus appetizer at Cecconi's
Cecconi's West Hollywood

Like calamari, this once-exotic protein now seems as foreign as mozzarella sticks. But while octopus is common, perfectly prepared octopus is not.

Here are eight octopus dishes we find unusually delicious.

Polpo a la brasa at Smoke.Oil.SaltEXPAND
Polpo a la brasa at Smoke.Oil.Salt
Smoke.Oil.Salt

Smoke.Oil.Salt
Every forkful of chef Perfecto Rocher’s food at Smoke.Oil.Salt exudes purpose, and that's because each component of a dish is so adroitly executed. The polpo a la brasa is no exception. Smoked octopus rests on top of an herb and micro-watercress salad, dressed with a potato vinaigrette. According to Rocher, the tentacles are "blanched three times in salted water, traditional style,” then placed in a pressure cooker and finished on a grill for “crispy and charred flavor using orange and almond wood.” 7274 Melrose Ave., Fairfax District; (323) 930-7900; smokeoilsalt.com.

Octopus with sea salt, garlic and olive oil at Sushi RokuEXPAND
Octopus with sea salt, garlic and olive oil at Sushi Roku
Sushi Roku

Sushi Roku
For one of the best views in the city, get to Sushi Roku early and grab a seat on the enclosed patio, where the Pacific gleams in the distance. Then eat the grilled octopus with sea salt, garlic and olive oil, which comes on a bed of frisee, cherry tomatoes and radish. Made “Italian-style,” the cephalopod is boiled in vegetable stock for an hour, rendering the tentacles tender enough to cut with a fork. Add a side of the yellowtail wrapped in foie gras with black truffle or the blue crab tartare with uni and caviar, and you can walk away with all indulgences covered. 1401 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, and other locations; (310) 458-4771; innovativedining.com/restaurants/sushiroku.

Catalan-inspired octopus starter at La Boheme
Catalan-inspired octopus starter at La Boheme
La Boheme

La Boheme
Sexy and romantic, with fireplaces, fountains, chandeliers and red crystals, La Boheme the restaurant, like La Boheme the opera, isn't much for subtlety or understatement. The restaurant's Catalan-inspired octopus starter comes grilled and sits a bed of braised, spicy mustard greens and beet tops. Flavored with saffron, paprika, citrus vinegar and chili flakes, the dish bursts with flavor. According to executive chef Martha Esquivel, the meat is simmered for about 35 minutes before getting a quick grill. “You don’t want to cook it too long — enough so you still have a bite but you’re not struggling with it,” she says. 8400 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; (323) 848-2360; globaldiningca.com/laboheme.

Octopus for the squeamish at Blue Plate OysteretteEXPAND
Octopus for the squeamish at Blue Plate Oysterette
Blue Plate Oysterette

Blue Plate Oysterette
For those on the squeamish side when it comes to suction cups, Blue Plate Oysterette's seasonal octopus special is built to convert non-believers. Served grilled sans suction cups with fingerling potatoes, lemon gremolata, a charred lemon half, cherry tomatoes and arugula, this octopus dish makes for a perfect summer appetizer. Waiter Jonathan Margolis says, “I couldn’t do octopus until I had it here.” 8048 W. 3rd St., Beverly Grove; (323) 656-5474; and 1355 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; (310) 576-3474; blueplatesantamonica.com.



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