Even die hard foodies wouldn’t normally cross the country a second time to sample a dish that was prepared to perfection – or would they? Well, this one did. After first tasting Arturo Joe’s calamari 8 years ago I vowed it wouldn’t be my last.
While in Rhode Island in 2002 checking out colleges for our daughter, we needed to fill in a time gap with a quick lunch. Lucky for us we ended up on the doorstep of a strangely ordinary looking restaurant — but what was going on in their kitchen was anything but ordinary. We were hoping to order fried calamari when our waiter spent the next few minutes insisting that we order their house calamari which was sautéed with hot peppers, olives and diced tomatoes in a butter wine garlic sauce. Being a calamari purist, I reluctantly gave in, sure that I’d be disappointed with a soggy mess. Was I ever wrong!! The tender rings kept their crispness in the garlicky pool with just the right amount of peppers, olives and tomatoes. Nothing overwhelmed the other – only perfectly complimented it. I was told that the rest of the meal was equally delicious but all I remember about Arturo Joe’s Italian Grill that day was the House Calamari.
Fast forward to last summer when my family and I decided we needed a New England Coast vacation to sweep away our land-locked Phoenix blues. My mind immediately jumped to Arturo Joe’s calamari dish and you know the rest — Rhode Island was quickly added to the itinerary. For its historical value of course 😉 After retracing our original steps from 8 years earlier we again ended up in that unassuming parking lot. The only difference in the dish was that they renamed it from House Calamari to Traditional Calamari – its perfection remained the same. Aah Arturo, I can’t wait until we meet again.