Long Island restaurant picks for octopus

Octopus at MP Taverna restaurant in Roslyn. (June Octopus at MP Taverna restaurant in Roslyn. (June 23, 2011) Photo Credit: Yana Paskova

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Octopus, the eight-armed cephalopod of the ocean, is integral to the cuisines of many Mediterranean nations. In Greece, Turkey, Italy, Portugal and Spain, you'll find it a main attraction on many menus.

If you've been squeamish about eating octopus in the past, now is the time to abandon preconceptions. Properly done, the delicacy makes for easy eating. Here are three Long Island places to learn through experience:

MP TAVERNA, Roslyn

At celebrated chef Michael Psilakis's first rate Greek gastropub in Roslyn, the octopus is braised in its own liquid, then grilled. The result is supernally tender and lemony, served over a Mediterranean chickpea salad.

NERAKI GREEK MEDITERRANEAN GRILL, Huntington

A lovely smokiness infuses the tender grilled tentacles at this seafood-focused Greek restaurant in downtown Huntington.

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ESPANA TAPAS & WINE BAR, St. James

At this Spanish tapas spot, the tender Galician-style octopus is simply boiled and then tossed with a sweet and spicy mix of Spanish paprika, olive oil and sea salt. It's plated over sliced boiled potatoes and served, in classic manner, on a wood plate.

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