TGI Fry-Day: Calamari "Federal Hill" Style from Fish Bar
Ah, deep fried calamari: the newly adventurous' first foray into 'exotic' seafood. Where would the appetizer section of chain Italian restaurants everywhere be without you? Not that I'm knocking the dish, of course. Fresh squid segments combined with deep fryer know-how are a deliciously crunchy, hunger-inciting start to any meal.
The Calamari ($6.00) at Fish Bar in Lakeview are exemplary. The dish is prepared "Federal Hill," Rhode Island-style, which apparently means breaded, deep fried, and tossed after the fact with picked banana pepper rings, jalapeño slices, and sliced garlic, with a light grating of Parmesan cheese and some chopped parsley sprinkled on top. The pickled components add a kick alongside the richness of the nicely seasoned breading and brininess of the squid, while also lending a welcome textural contrast to the squid's as-to-be-expected chewiness. My only complaint with the dish is the squid to accouterment ratio. Unless your party is up for actually eating the about three sandwiches worth of pickled veggies (which we did), you may need to order a second if you plan on sharing.