quick bite: polpo alla griglia at Il Massimo

I hope those of you who would never try octopus were fooled by the Italian headline. I was fooled by this dish too. When Il Massimo was picked for a work lunch, I didn’t expect much given it’s location in Legacy Place right below P. F. Changs. Literally, P. F. Changs sits on top of the restaurant. With much skepticism, and a strong drink, I thought I’d go all in and get the octopus. It exceeded all my expectations.

The dish begins with a generous amount of charred octopus, well cooked to be firm but tender. It is placed on top of a light stew of white beans, garlic, grape tomatoes, sausage, and parsley. The sausage is chourico, the Portugeese version of chorizo, which brings just a touch of spice to the stew. The bright acidity of the tomatoes is particularly welcomed, saving the dish from being too dense. There is no doubt you will need a piece of bread to soak up every last drop. It’s that good.

It is so good that I went back just two weeks after my first visit to get it again. A second tasting with much higher expectations didn’t disappoint. Although it’s on the appetizer menu the polpo alla griglia with a side of bread is hearty enough to be complete lunch or a light dinner. I know I’m going to get it again. It might just be the best dish at Legacy Place.

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