If you think of chewy, deep-fried rings with a side of dipping sauce when you hear the word “calamari,” get ready to have your mind blown. RockCreek has fried calamari on its menu, but it’s more of a squid dish than your typical appetizer. Technically, it’s called point judith calamari “Kari-Out,” but what it really should be called is crack in a box. Served in a Chinese takeout container with chopsticks, the novelty item initially had been intended by RockCreek chef/owner Eric Donnelly to be a joke; a totally whimsical, tongue-in-cheek presentation that people would scoff at. But—surprise—it’s now one of the restaurant’s best-sellers. What makes this dish so addictively sublime is a stir-fried combination of garlic, basil, escarole, radish, onion, toasted sesame and something called M-80 sauce—a top-secret house-made concoction reminiscent of that sticky, sweet soy-based glaze you get with, well, Chinese takeout. The calamari is breaded in cornmeal and lightly fried, which, mixed with the sauce, makes the texture a little soggy. But the sauce is what sets this dish apart. That sauce…that sugary/savory/spicy sauce is the sort of thing you dream of finding in a takeout box in your fridge after a late night on the town. Dinner Mon.–Fri., brunch Sat.–Sun. Fremont, 4300 Fremont Ave. N; 206.557.7532; rockcreekseattle.com
Did you know that Chinese takeout boxes unfold into plates? Yeah, neither did we.