This dish started as a form of protest.

Brandt Evans was chef at Tremont, Ohio, restaurant Kosta's, whose owners encouraged him to put calamari on the menu.

“I was totally against the idea, so I thought I would make a calamari dish so funky and totally different than the classic, the owners would hate it and think I couldn’t cook calamari,” he said. “I cut the calamari tubes lengthwise so they curl up, unlike traditional calamari rings.”

The dish was an instant success. He brought it with him to Blue Canyon, where it remains his best-selling menu item.

To make the calamari, he dredges the sliced squid in polenta, then fries it for five seconds at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. He finishes the dish with a sauce of sweet soy, Thai chile paste and pickled ginger.

The dish is priced at $12 at the location in Kalispell, Mont., and $14 at the unit in Twinsburg, Ohio. The item is available in two sizes at the Missoula, Mont., restaurant, priced at $10 and $16.

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This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: October 7, 2013 This story has been updated with the correct location of Kosta's restaurant.

Contact Bret Thorn at bret.thorn@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary