A recent meal at Fruition Restaurant, chef-owner Alex Seidel‘s seven-year-old restaurant on Sixth Avenue, yielded my favorite dish of 2014 thus far. The grilled Spanish octopus, served in a San Marzano tomato broth with Gigante beans, candied peppers, olives, and Spanish smoked-paprika chorizo, sits on the starter section of the menu. If it sounds like there’s a lot going on, the dish is actually quite delicate, never overshadowing the tender morsels of octopus.
The protein is famously tough to chew, but Fruition gets around this by using octopus that’s tenderized right on the boat. According to Seattle Fish Co., the cephalopod is line-caught and immediately tumbled in stainless mixers with sea salt and iced water. Seidel furthers ensures a mild bite by poaching the protein in concentrated vegetable stock before finishing it on the grill.
Look around town, and you’ll note that octopus is big these days. Acorn was the first Denver restaurant to use the tenderized product (mentioned here in Denver Post). Fruition, the Oceanaire, Salt Bistro in Boulder, and Terra Bistro in Vail followed once Seattle Fish added the protein to its lineup. You can also find octopus starring in tacos at Los Chingones and served alongside a nettle purée at Bones.
E. Sixth Ave., 303-831-1962
—Photo by Rachel Nobrega