The squidwich at Fish & Whistle in Biddeford. Photo by Tim Cebula

WHAT: Squidwich, $14

WHERE: Fish & Whistle, 299 Main St., Biddeford, 207-571-4520,

WHY: This casual neighborhood seafood restaurant is perhaps best known for its splendid fish and chips. But the squidwich is another top-seller, and for good reason.

While fried squid sandwiches are popular in Spain, there aren’t a whole lot of places stateside that dare to take a specialty dish like calamari and put it on a bun. And because of Fish & Whistle’s careful attention to detail with its components, this simple sandwich – fried local squid, lettuce, tartar sauce, bun – becomes far tastier than the sum of its parts.

The squid body is scored rather than sliced into separate rings, so when fried, it fans out while still hanging together, like a blooming onion. A light, crisp batter coats the succulent squid. Housemade tartar with shallot, fresh dill, lemon and pickle juice lends tart punch without overpowering the delicate squid flavor.

Fish & Whistle uses tender-crisp Boston lettuce instead of the usual romaine, iceberg or leaf lettuce you find on many seafood sandwiches, a nice touch since it doesn’t distract from the calamari’s crunch and offers a subtle sweetness of its own. The delightful house-baked Japanese milk buns – glossy, rich-tasting and somehow both fluffy and super-squishy – make the sandwich really sing.

Fans of the Rhode Island-style calamari, take note: Fish & Whistle also offers a marinara squidwich ($14) with butter-enriched marinara, hot cherry peppers and a little Parmesan cheese, an ideal version for a cold day.

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