Calamari, the Italian word for squid, is a fried favorite at most Long Island Italian restaurants. What many people don't know is that the versatile cephalopod doesn't always need to wear a fried coat of bread crumbs or batter. Squid works well in many cuisines, whether grilled or sauteed, served solo or combined with other ingredients.
Check out the squid at these local spots:
AEGEAN GRILL , 354 Larkfield Rd., East Northport, 631-266-3300
Charcoal calamari -- grilled squid, glistening with lemon and olive oil -- is a forte at this little Greek restaurant where you can get it as an appetizer ($10.75) or request it on top of a Greek salad.
SAVINO'S HIDEAWAY, 258 North Country Rd., Mount Sinai, 631-928-6510
At this beautifully appointed Italian restaurant, an appetizer of grilled calamari comes off as smoky and garlicky. $10
LEMON LEAF THAI RESTAURANT , 197 Mineola Blvd., Mineola, 516-877-1899, lemonleafthairestaurant.com
Try the yam pla muk, a vibrant Thai calamari salad that features tender squid with tomatoes, fresh mint, onions, basil, lemongrass and chili. $7.50
OREGANO JOE'S , 1921 Wantagh Ave.,Wantagh, 516-308-4892
Order the calamari arrabiatta with its piquant red sauce on the side, so that the ultra-tender squid retains its exterior crispness. $11.95