Octopus Grilled at the Brothers Beer Bistro in Ottawa
Grilled Octopus is one of my favorite dishes and have eaten a lot of it in Greek and Portuguese Restaurants where they tend to treat this as a specialty. I have to say, though, that the lovely version I was served at the Brothers Beer Bistro in Ottawa pretty much outshone all of them. Not only was their Octopus grilled expertly, the dressing they used was both unusual and wonderful.
Firstly, the actual grilling, in this case, was done to perfection. I often find that grilled octopus is over-cooked in many establishments, chiefly, I believe, from cooking too long at too low a temperature. The taste isn’t especially diminished thereby, but the texture of the meat usually suffers badly. Here, the outside of the single tentacle was charred in many places, adding to the overall flavor, but the flesh within was delightfully chewy with the ‘elastic’ bite that makes octopus a pleasure to eat.
The other aspect of the Octopus Grilled at Brothers that makes it so deserving of mention was the unique flavoring. The meat was served with fingerling Yukon potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and a house-made chorizo, all of which were bathed in a lovely ‘vinaigrette’ made with Tamarind and Mint. I was almost going to forego octopus on this occasion (despite it being a favorite) as there were some other interesting selections on the menu I wanted to try as well. However, the idea of using mint with octopus seemed so (doubtfully) unusual that I couldn’t resist giving it a try.
Happily, the pairing turned out to work very well indeed. First of all, the chorizo, which was more in the form of ‘loose’ sausage meat rather then dense slices, made for a nice umami counterpoint to the marine flavor of the octopus. As for the sauce, the Tamarind gave the overall dish a lovely sweet and sour quality (which went especially well with the potato too), while the mint flavor blended with it perfectly to the point that it took me a few seconds to even be able to identify ‘mintiness’ as an individual quality. I am not sure what variety of mint was used (peppermint, possibly) but it was added with a deft touch and the overall effect was superb. The Octopus Grilled at Brothers Beer Bistro really was a winner.