Although most of us have never likely encountered a live octopus, there is a staggering array of calamari dishes across Kansas City. With so many choices, it can be difficult to figure out which ones are a real catch. What follows are the 10 calamari plates you should make every effort to grab with both tentacles. 10. McCormick & Schmick's
. The right ratio of breading to calamari. These always come out hot and are gone before you realize you've eaten the entire plate.9. Red Snapper
. The fried king calamari are steaks, not tubes. The lemon-chili dipping sauce adds a good amount of heat to a generous serving. 8. Osteria Il Centro
. The calamari fritti is meant to be a shared appetizer, but you'll want to keep it to yourself. A thick basil pesto and roasted red pepper cocktail sauce are good compliments.7. The Gaf
. The calamari at this Waldo standard are dipped in buttermilk before being fried, which adds a lighter quality that pairs well with the Spicy Guinness-Mustard aoli.6. Ruth's Chris Steak House
. You're focused on steak when you get there, but save some room for the calamari. When it's on the menu, it's almost worth going just for the fried rings served with a Thai chili sauce.
5. Lidia's Kansas City.
The kitchen crew at celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich's namesake
restaurant follows her distinctive recipe, marinating the pieces of
squid in fresh thyme, garlic and a touch of pepperoncino, quickly searing
it, then heaping it on a mound of corona
beans slow simmered with escarole.
4. Capitol Grille. The most fiery of the lot, fried
in garlic butter with sauteed hot cherry peppers, pale green pepperoncini, roasted sweet
peppers and green onion.
3. Cafe Trio. Light, crispy, delectable and the perfect snack with a cool glass of wine on the restaurant's shady outdoor deck.
2. The Bristol. Seafood is sexy at this popular restaurant, particularly the newer downtown venue. Sharing a plate of calamari here is like foreplay.
1. Extra Virgin. Chef Michael Smith has a way with those tentacled temptations. We recommend ordering them with his grilled bread and house-made ricotta cheese.
[Image via Flickr: mccun934