Tag Archives: octopus

Beyoglu Lunch: Upper East Side Lunch – Octopus & Squid in New York (Part 3)

Part 1
Part 2

captivated

captivated


Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I had a special lunch planned with friends. We met in big, ‘ole New York City, and I had no idea that octopus would be in my future. It wasn’t until I was stared down by the menu item above that my meal fate was sealed.

We went to Beyoglu on Third Avenue and 81st Street; a short walk from their abodes. The waiters are friendly and the atmosphere is casual and laid back. The restaurant achieves it’s goal of transporting the diner into a lively, European meeting place. The decor is adorable, with tiled tabletops and an inviting bar at the entrance. There is some confusion about the type of food that is served at Beyoglu, but not of the quality. Whether you call it Turkish or Greek, the Mediterranean cuisine is top notch.

After sitting together and gabbing for a bit (as girls do), we noticed beautifully large rounds of bread delivered to each table. We instantly decided to share dips to put the bread to good use:

starting off right

starting off right


Just look at that hunk of bread! It was soft and pillowy in the middle, with charred edges and sesame seeds on top. It was the absolute perfect vehicle for the fantastic dips. The hummus was made of chick peas & tahini seasoned w/ cumin & garlic. The portion was large and made for a cozy snack. I can’t seem to find the spinach dip on the online menu, but I remember it the taste well enough. It was chopped spinach topped with homemade yogurt and spices. There was garlic in there, maybe some shallots? We didn’t leave a bite of either one.

While the girls munched on gorgeous, fresh looking salads:

salad one

salad one


salad two

salad two

I opted for a protein-rich salad for myself:

my kinda salad

my kinda salad


Listed as an appetizer on the menu, my main course at lunch was – Ahtapot Salatasi: char-grilled octopus marinated in olive oil & balsamic vinegar. The octopus didn’t exactly show any signs of ‘char’ or ‘grill’ but I have no complaints about the flavor and texture of my 8-legged friend. It was softer than the octopus at the Greek Corner, but that’s just because of the lack of heavy grilling. With a sprinkling of lemon, the small salad was an excellent lunch for me!

Thanks friends, for picking an awesome place 🙂

Beyoglu on Urbanspoon

Beyoglu
1431 Third Ave.
at 81st St.
New York, NY 10028
212-650-0850

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Greek Corner in Carle Place- Octopus & Squid in New York (Part 1)

I am a lucky girl! On my most recent trip to New York, 4 of my 12 meals consisted of octopus, squid, or BOTH! To keep from droning on and on in a super long post (covering all 4 restaurants), I’ll have to break up the OctoSquid-licious-ness.

My first New York meal was spot on. I went to the Greek Corner in Carle Place. The decor was bright and reminiscent of a Disney flick (or even Disney World):

wall mural

wall mural


You can see how the painted wall extends to the ceiling depicting a pale blue sky, full of white cotton candy clouds. It was outlandish, but it also made me feel relaxed (it must have been the calming blue tones). The interior decorator also made a point to display the menu for people with vision problems:
look up and order

look up and order


And while that publicly jarring menu was appealing, I saw some show-stealers on the lunch menu:
#1

#1


But, I settled on an Aegean Salad with grilled octopus:
superstar lunch

superstar lunch


I could eat this every single day for lunch and most nights for dinner. The grilled tentacles retained an excellent char and crispy-ness, while the hunky pieces of meat were soft and tender. The salad was an average greek salad which came complete with crumbled feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers (can’t remember if there were olives). Everything was fresh and everything was eaten. The diners at my table were also lucky that day in that they heard me rant and rave about the octopus topped salad throughout lunch and for many hours afterward.
Of course, I leave the best bites for last:
delicious-ness dragged on

delicious-ness dragged on

The guys (waiters, cooks, owners) were not used to having the restaurant photographed, so after some weird glances in my direction I explained my baby blog. Once they heard the word internet, the posing began:
smile

owner on the left; green haired guy on the right

owner on the left; green haired guy on the right

All in all, a fantastic way to start off the holiday weekend in NY.

More to come….

Octopus News at La Pietra Cucina

Big changes for all octopus lovers over at La Pietra Cucina. The restaurant has recently received larger and more tender varieties of octopi. The new octopus product is directly represented in the lovely soup appetizer – Braised Octopus & Chick Pea Soup with escarole and olivastro. In the past, the soup had a nice amount of thinly sliced, shaved, and chopped octopus (see pic here). Now, the octopus shines through in large chunks that peek through the luscious, rich broth.

Take a look for yourself and then go test out the extra chunky soup at La Pietra Cucina (while it lasts).

I'm chunky and beautiful

La Pietra Cucina on Urbanspoon

La Pietra Cucina
One Peachtree Pointe,
1545 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA
http://www.lapietracucina.com

Sushi House Hayakawa……Again?

It has become quite clear to me that my eating at, thinking about, photographing, and spending money at Sushi House Hayakawa has become a bit much. And, to add fuel to the fire, I’m heading back there tonight at a friends request (and because it is absolutely delicious, fresh, and reasonably priced). In order to refrain form repeating content on this infant of a blog, I will quickly highlight some of the new bites of Japanese food that have entered my belly.

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ikura, ikura, galora


Sushi rice topped with chopped seaweed and ikura (salmon eggs). Simple, but intensely flavored with the sweet (from a soy/wine marinade), briny egg goo. When this arrived, I asked for a plate upgrade and got a few plops of uni (sea urchin).
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oh how a lil uni can change a dish


It tastes as good as it looks – superb.

I’ve covered parts of my trio in the past (think Would You Eat This? and Dreaming About), so here is the big picture:

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salty ikura with creamy uni, sour umeboshi flavored jellyfish, spicy wasabi raw octopus


It’s my version of a well balanced combination platter.

Lauren ordered a couple of rolls and I helped eat them:

IMG_2040

spicy tuna


IMG_2043

I'm special tonight!


The special roll had shrimp tempura, crab, tobiko (flying fish roe), eel sauce, wasabi mayo – while the size of each roll made it difficult to tackle, the taste made up for it.

IMG_2019

blow torching


As always, the personable Chef Hayakawa, provided some entertainment with his blow torch act.

After tonight, I will most likely decrease my frequency of visits to Sushi House Hayakawa – if only to up the anticipation/appreciation ante.

Sushi House Hayakawa on Urbanspoon

Sushi House Hayakawa
5979 Buford Hwy. Red & Green Steakhouse Shopping Center A-10
Atlanta, GA 30340
http://www.atlantasushibar.com/

Would You Eat This….Sushi House Hayakawa’s Specials

IMG_2034

When visiting Sushi House Hayakawa, I have been riskier in my ordering. I’ve tried new things; ordered what was freshly flown in from Japan. Simply put, I’ve been sky diving sushi style.

Take the dish in the photo above. Can you tell what it is? No? Take a closer look.

IMG_2032

what am I?

Need a bit more light?
IMG_2029

Ah, there it is – Raw Octopus in a Wasabi sauce! I have been wanting to eat raw octopus ever since I saw Anthony Bourdain and David Chang chomp on live octopus in Queens on a recent episode of No Reservations. The staff stared at me and asked me questions like “have you ever eaten raw octopus before?” and “are you sure you want that – the texture is ‘different’?”. This led me to believe I was embarking on a dangerous adventure; one that may end badly (god forbid I leave that night with disdain towards the lovely octopus).

When the small bowl arrived, it looked harmless enough. I noticed the octopus was cut into small pieces, most likely to avoid any chewiness. I took a small piece, let it explore around my mouth, and swallowed. The texture – I loved! The taste on the other hand was of an extremely strongly wasabi, so much so that I could not even get all of the octo down. I couldn’t taste much other than horseradish at full blown strength. I want to try raw octopus again – but this time I will ask Hayakawa to go easy on the wasabi.

Anyone else want to eat this?

Sushi House Hayakawa on Urbanspoon

Sushi House Hayakawa
5979 Buford Hwy. Red & Green Steakhouse Shopping Center A-10
Atlanta, GA 30340
http://www.atlantasushibar.com/

La Pietra Cucina: For the Love of Soup

Many of you are probably saddened by the recent death of Soupy Sales. In honor of the comic, I wanted to dedicate this post to him.

To be honest, I have absolutely no idea who Soupy Sales is. But, I have been sick recently and eating loads of soup so the timing just worked out (don’t you just love when that happens?).

An in-house work meeting prompted a nearby meal. My office happens to be located directly above one of the best Italian restaurants in the city of Atlanta, La Pietra Cucina.

Newly renovated with a high level of service, La Pietra is a luxurious way to spend a lunch hour. Case in point: my chamomile tea came in a large wooden box, and looked more like decorative potpourri than drinking tea.

Anyway, as soon as I looked at the menu I knew what was in order: SOUP

IMG_1850

octopus can heal


Braised Octopus & Chick Pea Soup with escarole and olivastro

Boy, this really hit the spot. There was a strong lemony note within the broth that felt great on my throat. The octopus chunks varied in size and shape, which made the process of eating a joyous occasion – somewhat like enjoying alphabet soup as a child. The chickpeas added some heft and weight to the bowl; they also soaked up some of that good broth flavor.

For my entree, SOUP!

IMG_1851

swimming squiddies

Calamari in Sicilian Tomato Zupetto with vermentino, toasted garlic, couscous, pine nuts

How can you have octopus without squid?

I’ve had this dish before and it is a satisfying meal – a heavier feel than the octopus due to the olive oil, but the flavors pop in a different way. Large slices of garlic, halved caper berries & olives, soft couscous, and crunchy pine nuts combine in a warm tomato base that begs to be drunk. This one warms the belly.

I’m not sure if it was the back-to-back soup action or the fact that I ate OctoSquid for lunch, but I left feeling a bit warmer and healthier.

Post-Script: my lunch mates ate very well.

IMG_1854

I'm cut by human hands


Hand Cut Pappardelle with bolognese ragu, grana padano

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order envy ensued


Black Spaghetti with rock shrimp, scallions, hot calabrese sausage

Both friends cleaned their plates 🙂

La Pietra Cucina on Urbanspoon

ENO with Top Chef’s Eli

After a full day of eating at Taste of Atlanta, I thought it would be a good idea to try out ENO in Midtown. My foodie friend, Hilla, joined us to test out the food prepared by one of the still-standing Atlanta Top Chefs, Eli Kirshtein.

why hello sir

why hello sir


Real-life Eli is not different than Top Chef Eli: full of personality, talkative, and excited about food (especially locally grown food). He explained some of the behind the scenes cooking techniques applied to the menu and was genuinely interested in our dining experience.

Appetizer was an easy choice for me: Octopus! (with watermelon and lemon vinaigrette)

let's run away together

let's run away together


If I remember correctly, the octopus is cooked sous vide which resulted in a tender, meaty consistency without the chewiness octopus-lovers are used to. While it couldn’t have been cooked any better, I prefer my octopus in a more rustic preparation (i.e. hunky grilled tentacles).
not your average ensalada

not your average ensalada


The market green salad was the celebratory dish of the night, partly because of the naturally low expectations house salads possess. Based on the constantly changing leafy green and herb delivery from local farms, the salad changes daily. Ours contained a variety of greens (including my new favorite, sorrel), marcona almonds, beets, parmigiano cheese shavings, greek yogurt, and a light vinaigrette. It was complex and so interesting it compelled us to order another one.

Hilla went with the Garlic Pork Sausage, Blis Maple, Pretzel Strusel, Mustard: and she sincerely liked the combination of the pig with the pretzel and mustard.
IMG_1771

Entrees:
Yellowtail Tuna Nicoise, Tobiko Gremolata, Wild Lettuce, Egg Yolk

side view

side view


bird's eye view

bird's eye view


the back side

the back side


totally tuna

totally tuna


The tuna was cooked black and blue, which I always appreciate and fear won’t occur when ordering tuna. The rarer the better. The lean protein needed the fatty egg yolk sauce, as well as the salty tobiko. Flavors worked well together. I didn’t eat the ‘wild lettuce,’ or in this case, sorrel within the same bites as the tuna, but I did fall deeply and madly in love with the citrus-y green. I wish I could find it to stock my fridge.

Hilla’s Painted Hills Short Rib Ravioli, Leeks, Pickled Scapes, Wild Mushrooms:
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She loved the pasta, liked the sauce & mushrooms, but stated that the short rib filling was too simple tasting – merely shredded meat with mirepoix (carrots, onion, celery).

The only flop of the night was the dessert course, which we shared:

looks can be deceiving

looks can be deceiving


Pistachio Cake, Madeira, Pear Sabayon: the cake was tough and heavy, almost brick-like while the gelled ribbon tasted of bitter alcohol.

ENO uses a variety supremely fresh ingredients, applying the most interesting cooking techniques to an ever-changing inventory. Some of that pizzazz get lost, mostly because the secrets remain in the kitchen. Ask lots of questions and you will be privy to a slew of facts, standards, and operations that don’t shine through the food. At the end of the night, you will feel well-treated and satisfied (just stay away from the pistachio dessert).

Eno on Urbanspoon