Octopus Grilled at Mystiko
Octopus is a great favourite in Greek cuisine, and the Greeks are true masters at preparing it on the grill. The Mezze dish of Octopus Grilled shown above was served to me at the Mystiko Greek restaurant in Ottawa’s Centertown district and was the star offering in a really splendid meal.
The menu described the Octopus as being marinated, but I really wasn’t able to taste any particular flavoring beyond the added dressing. Possibly, some lightly acidic marinade without any additions was used to tenderize the flesh of the octopus after simmering it, but I couldn’t t detect that in taste or texture either.
The plating job was perhaps not the most elegant I have seen, with the vegetable component amounting to a rudimentary Horiatiki Salad without the usual Feta Cheese, but the oil dressing, with Oregano and Pepper, went just as well with the Octopus as it did with the ‘Salad’. The Lemon Wedge was also welcome, as I love lemon juice with grilled seafood. In this case, however, I have to say that using Lemon Juice on this serving of Octopus was a bit like gilding the Lily.
What really made this dish standout was the skill used in actually grilling the tentacle. I always like a bit of charring on fire-grilled foods and, here, they did a bang-up job of adding terrific sweet and smoky notes to the flesh without overcooking it in the process. Indeed, I would say that in about three-quarters of all cases where I have been served Grilled Octopus, it has been, at least slightly, overdone. Here though, the kitchen used just the right application of heat to blister and char the skin, but pulled it from the fire while the meaty portions of the tentacle were tender, but still retained a nicely toothsome ‘bite’.
It may be a while before I get to visit this restaurant again, but I will probably have to go for this dish a second time.