The Squid Grilled at Izakaya in Ottawa weren’t well plated but were very expertly grilled and tasty, and still earned a Rating of 5 out of 5.
I previously posted a rather lukewarm review of the Gyoza at the Izakaya Restaurant in Ottawa. In the main, however, the dishes I was served at this once delightful (but now closed establishment) were mostly very good. Grilled Squid happens to be one of my favorite dishes and the version at Izakaya was not just excellent, it was one of the best I have ever had.
One of the distinguishing features of this particular appetizer was that it used whole Baby Squid rather than the larger sort.
On occasion, I have Baby Octopus served to me as Squid, and also vice versa, but these were clearly squid. You can generally tell by the fact that the body is separate from the ‘dangly bits’ on Squid, while Octopus are eviscerated through a slit on the body, which remains attached to the rest. The other way to distinguish them is that Octopuses have 8 arms, while Squid have 8 arms of uniform length, and two longer tentacles.
Anyway, the squid were served with a Ginger-Ponzu sauce and an interesting side composed of slivered Apple with Coriander. I found the former a little non-descript and bland, really, and didn’t bother with it, but the side ‘salad’ was very nice even though I am not a huge fan of Coriander. The Apple was a nice choice, and something I wouldn’t have thought to pair with Squid before this.
As for the Squid, this was a treat. The grilling was very expertly done leaving the fresh chewy tender but not toughened. The caramelization from the grilling process really enhanced the natural sweetness of the Squid flesh and I can honestly say that I have never achieved better myself.
The one thing that rather surprised me when I considered it was the fact that Squid bodies were empty and not stuffed with anything. Now I don’t mean to suggest that I felt let down, or cheated because of this omission, but it rather struck me that the restaurant rather missed a trick here. Something like minced Shrimp would have made a terrific filling, it seems to me. Still, you can’t have everything and this was, after all, an excellent dish as it was.