Now that calamari is a menu standard, octopus offers the next flavor frontier in cephalapods. And diners here are just starting to discover the wonder of well-prepared octopus—meaty, tender, delicious. The Grilled Octopus, a signature dish at Kyma, has been on the menu for more than 15 years. It’s ordered by more than 95 percent of its customers.
Executive Chef Pano Karatassos, who is often credited with introducing octopus to Atlanta more than a decade ago, cooks about 16 8-lb. octopuses a day, paying close attention to cooking times, as each can vary. “Some take 45 minutes and some take two hours,” he says. The octopus is braised until tender, then grilled over a wood fire. “I check every single one to make sure it has been cooked enough before it hits the grill,” he adds. “The process yields a crispy tentacle on the outside and a tender, juicy center, and the flavor is smoky and bright.”
It’s served in bite-sized pieces with a medley of marinated red onions, olives and capers, which provide a vibrant balance of flavor. The dish is also on the menu of Kyma’s sister restaurant, Lobster Bar Sea Grille, under the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group umbrella.