Sepia Tone

The Latin name for cuttlefish is sepia; the color is named for the ink it uses to warn off predators. A cousin to squid and octopus, only much more tender, cuttlefish is popular in Asian cuisines. At A Dong (10780 Bellaire Boulevard, 281-498-8810), they prepare it as a house specialty called muc rang muoi ($8.95). The English translation, "salted, sautéed cuttlefish with Vietnamese style," doesn't convey much more information. The lightly battered cuttlefish, which is deep-fried yet shows no sign of grease, sits atop a bed of fresh watercress, sautéed onions, pickled onions and tomatoes. It's served with a small bowl of salt and pepper into which you squeeze fresh lemon juice, then dip the cuttlefish pieces. As simple as these flavors are, their intensity makes the dish special.

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Paul Galvani