EAT This Week: Azzara’s Calamari Steak

This week’s featured EAT dish is the Calamari Steak from Azzara’s. (Rob Galloway / Tahoe Daily Tribune)

To try and decide each week where and what to eat around the basin can be a challenge — there are so many amazing choices. In this feature we’ll dive into dishes that will surely satisfy those hunger pangs and leave you wondering where to go next.

One of my kids’ all time favorite appetizers is calamari. Typically it’s going to come to the table in rings and tentacles, but as a side note: can we all agree on how delicious the tentacles are? I don’t understand the bad wrap – like holding up a crucifix to keep them away from getting into their mouth. Regardless, anytime you can get a calamari steak as an appetizer, just say yes – especially at Azzara’s.

How do you get a steak from something that usually has rings? Well, the steaks are part of a larger squid and the rings are typically from smaller squids. The steak here gets a nice bath in buttermilk and eggs and then gets plunged into Italian breadcrumbs for each order.

From there it gets pan seared until those breadcrumbs get that amazing golden crust, adding texture like it just walked in front of an open piece of drywall.

The presentation comes in the form of the Italian flag sporting a tasty sauce for each of the red, white and green colors. While the calamari steak isn’t as traditional as its inferior ringed counterpart, the sauces here lean more towards the tradition you’ve come to love about Italian cuisine.

The sauces throwing down their colors are marinara, pesto and béchamel. The beauty of having three sauces to choose from is that you have like a Rubik’s cube amount of combinations. Well, not quite that many, but when you can get the deep richness of the marinara, the creaminess of the béchamel, and the earthiness of the pesto all in a single bite, that’s a winning combination – regardless of how good you are at spinning colored squares. Another side note: I’m terrible at it.

If you’re OCD and don’t like your sauces to touch each other, don’t worry. They’re all awesome on their own. Each plays off the slightly crunchy exterior and calamari slightly different. The fun is playing Mix Master Mike and finding your favorite. Enjoy the ride.

Azzara’s restaurant is located at 930 Tahoe Blvd., Ste. 101 in Incline Village. Visit them online at for a complete menu and online ordering information or by phone at 775-831-0346.

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