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May 30, 2007 06:17 AM

In search of real fried calamari

Little Charlies just closed, the last spectacular fried calamari, scungili etc with sweet, medium and hot sauce. A medium that was too hot for most of the unititiated. A very funky old place, on Kenmare, since 1926 says the awning, still hanging, probably never saw a tourist,,,,

Once upon a time there was The Lime House on Mott in Chinatown - SOUTH of Canal, open til 6 in the morning, talking 60's & 70's now. From the clubs to Lime House to the 10th St baths to wake up. Or Vincent's, which was open til' maybe 3PM. (is there a board for NYC famous late nite?)

Vincent's and the new Umberto's have little in common with the past.
I went to Umberto's last week and the calamari was thickly breaded (major no-no) tasteless, no texture and the sauces were even worse.
Randazzo's in Bklyn doesn't cut it.
I'd like to hear from those who "really know fried calamar, so lightly floured, in a "real" hot sauce. Bronx's City Island, Arthur Avenue, Bkly'n's Red Hook, Bay Ridge,Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island, Old Italian Queens, how about Newark's Portugese seafood?
Thank you for any insights into an almost lost art!

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  1. I'm beyond shocked that Little Charlie's closed. I also remember The Lime House. I haven't been to Little Charlie's in years but was planning on returning.

    1. I've been enjoying the fried Calamari at El Charro Espanol (4 Charles Street) for 17 years this coming August, and it has never been less than perfect. They serve it with a Spanish style salsa that I don't eat because I prefer my calamari just squirted with lemon.

      1. The best fried calamari I had was at Del Posto. It did not come with the "real" hot sauce, but the texture and the coating were pecfect - it was ethereal in every dimension.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kobetobiko

          I'm with you--I've had it four times now and every time it's been brilliant. I think it's flash-fried in rice batter or something like that. Yum.

        2. I used to go to a Russian seafood place called Gambrinus for a huge plate of good fried calamari and a 1liter mug of ice-cold beer that you could enjoy outside. It's on the corner of Brighton Beach and Ocean Parkway. However, I haven't been there in a few years, so I don't know what it's like now.

          1. I've decided to chime in with a Bronx landmark known for good calamari. Theirs are not breaded, nor are they coated with any semolina or cornmeal -- just a light dusting of flour is all they get. This makes them very light (almost puffy). They might look unappealingly pale at first, but don't be fooled. The taste is fantastic. Served up generously and fresh every time, nice and hot. The wait staff and cooks are usually on top of their game. Sauce is pretty good too.

            Link --->