Best Of 2019

Best Place to Sample Squid Ink: Crown Republic Gastropub

OK, squid ink is not the only thing you should try at Crown Republic Gastropub, but now that we’ve got your attention, let’s talk about this wonderful eatery’s aquatic defense mechanism-turned-ingredient. Squids naturally secrete ink to evade attackers, and though it’s not likely they anticipated anyone would want to eat their excretion, squid ink is high in iron, full of antioxidants and has a unique flavor that doesn’t taste like a pen. Crown Republic incorporates the ink into a housemade pasta for their take on tagliatelle, which includes mounds of crab atop black pasta with lemon, chili oil, breadcrumbs and tomato. It’s creamy with a spicier profile than you might initially infer — definitely one of the more unique pasta options in town. If slurping down inky noodles ain’t your prerogative — or if you are dining with someone less than adventurous — try the chicken gobbets. The name is weird, but the meat isn’t. Gobbets are basically adult chicken nuggets that are soaked in the malt brine the crew makes their pickles in, then fried and served with honey hot sauce on the side. During lunch, the gobbets are also available in Crown Republic’s spin on a po’boy, served with lettuce, tomato, malt pickles and garlic aioli on a hoagie. Something slightly more approachable for a diner who wants to go to Flavortown but isn’t ready to tackle edible ink from a cephalopod’s sac. Crown Republic Gastropub, 720 Sycamore St., Downtown,