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looking for grilled octopus

People have been telling me that it 's not possible to find grilled octopus around Boston. Has anyone on Chowhound seen grilled octopus anywhere here? Thanks!

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  1. Strip T's in Watertown, under its new chef, offers a lovely grilled octopus with a smoky tomato and wasabi sauce.

    Craigie on Main also has a superb grilled octopus that is one of their signature dishes.

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    Craigie on Main
    853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

    1 Reply
    1. re: DoubleMan

      Just a second for the grilled octopus at Craigie. I don't have a lot to compare it to, but I've been blown away by the tenderness and flavor.

    2. Mare in the North End, Restaurante Cesaria in Dorchester, Oleana. All excellent. (How can you go wrong with grilled octopus?)

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      Oleana
      134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

      Restaurante Cesaria
      266 Bowdoin St, Dorchester, MA 02122

      2 Replies
      1. re: Pia

        can't recall if it's grilled but Taberna de Haro has a lovely octopus with olive oil and pimenton.

        1. 'people' can be very wrong! lots of grilled octopus(a fav of mine) in boston. And just fyi, most chefs think it's better bought frozen than fresh because "the freezing tenderizes it". I know it sounds backasswards, but that's what i've been repeatedly told. Oleana has octopus on the menu, skewered with green olives when I was last there. Spanish places (Toro,Taberna de Haro, etc) will most always have it on their menu. Because it is bought frozen, it is not a seasonally limited item and should be findable on menus year round.

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          Oleana
          134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

          12 Replies
          1. re: opinionatedchef

            Another point where people can be so wrong!
            While freezing octopus certainly improves the tenderness, the tenderness is the one of a ruined texture and because prolonged freezing will result in lipid oxidation that can adversely affects the taste, and it's not the kind of tenderness or taste I look for.
            Unfortunately most of the octopus sold around here is frozen or has been frozen so I learned to live with it..
            For anyone who's had fresh octopus grilled or cooked right, you may agree. I've also had frozen octopus grilled and cooked right that I have thoroughly enjoyed too.

            1. re: Infomaniac

              New Ginza in Watertown (chef previously at Oga in Natick) claims to be the only sushi place in the area that serves live as opposed to frozen octopus.

              1. re: barleywino

                Did you mean fresh, not live? Live octopus would be good, perhaps after a starter of g'akh.

                1. re: Alcachofa

                  you're right...live could be tricky, all those suckers

                  1. re: Alcachofa

                    I have had live baby octopus (sashimi) once in Busan. I feels funny have the tentacle bits crawl in your mouth. Never had g'akh but enjoy revenge served cold :-)
                    Re original topic, Estragon has a good version. I imagine that the various Portuguese places do well and recall the now closed O Fado being praised.

                    1. re: Alcachofa

                      I like my g'akh chased with Saurian brandy - might clash with the octopus.

                  2. re: Infomaniac

                    i do see it at New Deal but have never asked if it is fresh or frozen. I have had it fresh and it is beautifully tender when prepared right. can't say I know anything about the cooking. have made scungilli and the conch takes a lot of pounding!

                    1. re: teezeetoo

                      Carl at New Deal sells previously frozen octopus 99% of the time. He defrosts it in batches so you can take it home and not have to thaw it. He has also told me that the previously frozen octopus is more tender than the fresh and I believe anything that man tells me about seafood.

                      1. re: yumyum

                        his word is gospel to me too and I've never known him to steer me wrong. thanks yy

                    2. re: Infomaniac

                      well, it sounds like another case of a product where the chef can make all the difference. Because i was told that by 2 chefs that I really admire- I accept it, particularly since i'm not likely to find fresh here. Needless to say, I will trust well reputed talented chefs to not purchase octopus that has been in the freezer a long time; as i trust them w/ re: to their pantry in general.

                      and thanks for the info; i'll look forw to trying fresh(but still, pounded to hell so as to be edible, like abalone and conch!) octopus when given the opportunity.

                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        For me, I like some resistance when eating octopus. I don't like when it's to tender.

                    3. re: opinionatedchef

                      Third the Oleana review. They and a lot of other places are getting their octopus from a purveyor out of Brooklyn, called Octopus's Garden. They have a special "tenderizing" process, kind of like a washing machine, so its sold fresh not frozen.

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                      Oleana
                      134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                    4. Alba in Quincy Center has it on their Summer menu, and I really enjoyed it the first time I had it. Ordered it again last week and was disappointed. I'd opt for the Craigie version. Much better.
                      Enjoy,
                      CocoDan

                      1. I just had a good wood-grilled octopus dish at The Blue Room.

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                        The Blue Room
                        Hampshire and Portland streets, Cambridge, MA 02139

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: stomachofsteel

                          We had the same dish last week. Delicious!! When we asked how it was so perfectly cooked - right amount of tenderness, not at all tough - she told us that Jorge brined it first then par cooked in water before grilling. It is a very good dish.

                        2. Thanks very much for your suggestions, I will pass them on to the complainer(s)!

                          1. Gran Gusto has different octo & calamari preps.

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                            Gran Gusto
                            90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

                            1. This goes back a while but I had a nice grilled octopus at Desfina in E Cambridge. More recently a great octopus at Aragosta at Battery Wharf...special; not a regular menu item.