248 Mulberry St., nr. Prince St. 212-993-7189
They have a guy, Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone, co-chefs of Parm. A squid guy. A secret peddler of cephalopods straight out of Montauk. This mollusk maven delivers the goods fresh off the boat every other day. Some days he doesn’t make it in. No matter. Carbone says that when it comes to fried calamari, fresh (as opposed to frozen) makes all the difference. One bite and you believe him. These rings are as light and tender as a French macaron. They’re fried with Cubanelle and Italian long hot peppers and served with two dipping sauces—housemade Tabasco mayo and marinara. It’s impossible to decide which sauce is better. There is one secret Carbone can reveal: seltzer water. The squid and the peppers get dunked in it and then rice flour before they hit the Fryolator. Does seltzer really do anything? “We don’t know,” says Carbone. “But being that we’ve had success with it, we’re superstitious to the point where we just keep on doing it.”
Best Fried Calamari
From the 2012 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).