This dish is certainly stark. When I first looked at it, I questioned whether or not it was missing something. Then as I crunched and dipped and tasted my way through it, my hesitations disappeared. It quickly became clear that the true beauty of this dish is contained in its simplicity. The calamari is dusted with cornstarch and then dipped in a beer batter. A quick turn in hot oil results in a crispy exterior and a moist and tender interior. The sauces, Meyer lemon mayonnaise and black fennel puree (enhanced with squid ink), brighten and accent the crispy calamari while still allowing the squid to shine.
While we debated the addition of herbs to accent the dish, we felt the bright flavors from the fennel and the Meyer lemon provided the contrast and support for the calamari, and while an herb or two might be pretty they would also be superfluous.
The dish is starkly beautiful and wisely we left it that way.