If lots of different categories of foods fail to pass your “Yuck!” test, it’s fairly certain that squid is on your “avoid at all costs” list. It’s a pity, because most people have never had any really fresh squid. They’re used to those rubbery breaded rings served with a generic tomato dipping sauce at some restaurants with pretensions to high class.
Today, I went to a new Italian restaurant in Westwood called the Donna Sophia Trattoria Napoletana and decided to give them the squid test. Their daily special was tagliatelle cooked in squid ink with calamari. I had never tried anything cooked in squid ink before, but I was feeling decidedly peckish, so I went for it. It was delicious. The calamari pieces were actually tender, and the tagliatelle was made from scratch. Sometimes it pays to take a chance.
Usually, the only places where I’ve had really tender calamari was in certain of the more ethnic Thai restaurants. It was great to see an Italian restaurant where they knew something about squid above and beyond keeping it in the freezer for several decades.
If Donna Sophia had failed to pass my squid test, I would reluctantly have concluded that the place was not very good. Fortunately, it passed with flying colors. It’s so unusual to see a new restaurant in Westwood that is not exclusively Burgers-and-Fries or rice-bowls.