10 Best Octopus Dishes in Los Angeles

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Wed, May 15, 2013 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge Ray's and Stark Bar - JESSICA KOSLOW
  • Jessica Koslow
  • Ray's and Stark Bar
Cooking octopus can be tricky. But when done right, it's tender, delicious and loaded with health benefits (low-calorie, lean, vitamin-rich). Japanese and Mediterranean diets are swimming, as it were, with octopus options -- as is this town, where many restaurants have the dish on their menus. According to a sampling of chefs, the Spanish and Portuguese seafood are generally favored, and most cooks have a specific size they prefer -- from one to seven pounds -- for reasons ranging from tenderness to plate presentation. Some eateries serve octopus with spices from Peru, while others experiment with the flavors of North Africa. Turn the page for 10 of our favorite octopus dishes around town.

click to enlarge Sushi Roku - JESSICA KOSLOW
  • Jessica Koslow
  • Sushi Roku
10. Sushi Roku:

You mostly expect to find octopus at a Japanese restaurant. At the Beverly Hills location of Sushi Roku, executive chef Jiro Kobayashi slices the elegant octopus sashimi into a salad with radish, cucumber, finger limes, micro popcorn shoots (yellow leafy plants produced by sprouting actual popcorn) and fried micro shiso in a peppery vinaigrette. The dish is tangy and refreshing, the chilled octopus slightly chewy. 8445 W. Third St., Los Angeles; 323-655-6767. 

click to enlarge Red O - JESSICA KOSLOW
  • Jessica Koslow
  • Red O
9. Red O:

There's no getting around the fact that octopus is on the plate when chef Efren F. Cardenas' wood-grilled octopus with crunchy chorizo, heirloom potato, Guajillo salsa and queso añejo arrives at the table. The tentacles swirl around the potatoes; crumbles of cheese drop into a sucker -- or two or three. It's quite a sight, although the highlight of Cardenas' creation has got to be the chorizo. 8155 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; 323-655-5009.

click to enlarge The Parish - JESSICA KOSLOW
  • Jessica Koslow
  • The Parish
8. The Parish:

Chef Casey Lane's plate of wood-grilled octopus resembles fingerling potatoes sitting atop chickpea puree. The octopus meat is incredibly tender, and acts as a canvas for the Basque country salsa, which has a terrifically strong kick from a mix of North African spices and Basque paprika. 840 S. Spring St., Los Angeles; 213-225-2400.

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