1/31/2013 03:23:00 PM

Best (Italian) Thing We Ate Last Night: Octopus at Perla

Yummy yummy tentacles
We've been talking about all things Italian this week, from going over our Italian food survey results, to discussing some of New York's 10 must-try Italian dishes, and so it's no surprise we left work the other night in need of a serious pasta fix. OK, we actually tried Japanese first, but the hostess at Chez Sardine just gave us a sorry head shake when we showed up and asked if they had any space. So on a dreary, rainy night we walked over to Gabe Stulman's other nearby eatery Perla and ordered some spaghetti, but it was actually an antipasto, the octopus to be exact, that had us licking the plate clean.

Beautifully presented, in a tidy round dome that's almost too pretty to touch, the dish features a generous helping of octopus sitting on top of sweet and juicy roasted tomatoes and a big hunk of crusty fettunta (toasted bread). The octopus was some of the meatiest we've ever tasted, and was perfectly braised so that it  was slightly crisp on the outside and succulent on the inside. But it was really the thick fettunta that won the day; it was all salty satisfaction --basically the best garlic bread you'll ever have -- and provided the exact kind of rustic comfort food we'd been craving all day (or, at least during the five minute walk over).