Octopus Parmentara at The Empire Grill

Octopus Steamed alla Parmentara

The Octopus Parmentara at The Empire Grill was interesting in conception but it was badly executed and I only gave it a 2 out of 5 Rating.

This dish appeared on the menu at the now defunct Empire Grill in Ottawa’s Byward Market as ‘Steamed Octopus alla Parmentara’. I am not sure what the Parmentara signifies (and a google search reveals nothing of note), but steamed octopus is not a common restaurant offering and I couldn’t resist giving it a try. It was an interesting dish, in conception at least, but the execution left a little to be desired.

The menu described the menu as follow:

STEAMED OCTOPUS ALLA PARMENTARA … Octopus with green onions, dried cranberries and pistachios with garlic lemon dressing served over potato puree.

What was surprising about the dish was that it was served cold (or very nearly so), which was not something I anticipated from the menu description. The octopus part was completely cold while the pureed potatoes were somewhere between cool and lukewarm. I am not sure if this was intended, or whether they were supposed to be warm and cooled off, or cold and weren’t chilled sufficiently, but the result was something I really wasn’t sure I liked.

As for the rest of the dish, the cranberry and pistachios worked nicely towards the final effect but the octopus itself was very poorly done. What I like best about properly prepared octopus is the lovely, chewy texture of the flesh but, here, the effect was dry and had rather the cardboard-like texture of canned octopus. Since they specify that their octopus is ‘steamed’ I would hate to think they actually did use a canned product but, given the quality, I have to wonder.

Well, overall, it is hard to give very high marks to this particular dish, but the idea wasn’t bad. Grilled Octopus over *hot* potato puree with all the same trimmings would probably be worth trying, but I would also like to see this same dish executed properly with steamed octopus too.

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