In The Bender Kitchen: Herd Restaurant – U.S. Navy Veteran Cooks and Shares Naval Experience

CT Style

Joining us today is Daniel Sergi, Owner/Executive Chef/ and United States Navy Veteran of Herd Restaurant, located in Middletown. This restaurant is a steak and seafood restaurant. Surge has been cooking professionally since 2002. Today Chef Daniel Sergi makes Herd Charred Octopus.

Herd Restaurant opened in March of 2016.  It was a concept of 4 friends coming together, like a herd. An artist, a chef, a lawyer, and a surgeon. They all grew up as kids together. Then later opened a restaurant together. 

Surge is a United States Navy Veteran who served aboard U.S.S. Normandy CG-60 as a Sonar Technician. Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist, Onboard when ship launched 13 Tomahawk missiles on Bosnia, Hunted submarines and worked with the MK-116 Torpedo. His father served in the United States Army and was drafted and fought in Vietnam he was also awarded the Purple Heart.



8 QTS water

3-4 natural wine corks

4 lbs cleaned octopus*

1TBSP black peppercorns

3-4 bay leaves

2 lemons, cut in half, squeezed, and added to water

2 oranges, cut in half, squeezed, and added to water

½ ball local Liuzzi-Angeloni fresh burrata cheese

3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

2 Crimini mushrooms, sliced

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup seasoned flour with 3 TBSP cornmeal added

1 TSP fresh, torn tarragon

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

½ cup Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce

1 TSP fresh chili pepper (such as jalapeno, Serrano, or Thai)

Salt and pepper to taste

2-3 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon juice

Local microgreens

½ TSP white truffle oil

3 asparagus spears

1 cup rice flour

1 egg yolk

½ cup sparkling water or club soda

1 QT sunflower oil, for frying

Ice bath for chilling octopus

Herd Charred Octopus


Bring 8 qts of water to a boil with octopus, peppercorns, bay leaves, lemons, oranges, and wine corks.  When water comes to a boil, turn heat down and simmer on low for 3 hours.  Remove octopus from liquid and rapidly chill in an ice bath to stop the cooking and cool down.  Next, make mushroom chips by dredging in seasoned flour/cornmeal mixture, making sure to shake off excess flour, then dip them into buttermilk, and then back into the flour mixture.  Shake off excess flour and deep fry in sunflower oil until crispy. Remove, season with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.  Next, make the tempura batter by mixing rice flour, yolk, and sparkling water ( a little at a time to ensure correct consistency) .  Dredge asparagus spears into flour mixture, making sure to shake off excess flour, and then dip to coat in tempura batter.  Slowly, swim asparagus spears into hot sunflower oil until they feel like they want to float on their own and drop them in, being careful not get burned by the hot oil.  Fry until a crispy texture and golden hue develops on the asparagus.  Remove and set aside.  Next, make the sauce for the octopus by reducing orange juice and chili sauce with fresh chili’s and tarragon on high heat until sauce boils rapidly in the middle and reduces by two thirds.  Turn of heat and set away from burner to cool just slightly.  Next, Sautee your octopus.  Using knife, carefully cut up chilled octopus, removing “Beak” or “teeth” and any attached valves.  Using high heat, heat sauté pan and add olive oil to pan until it shimmers.  Carefully, place octopus in pan and let cook on one side for 1 and ½ minutes. Flip octopus and continue to cook for another 1 and ½ minutes until it starts to caramelize and char.  Season with salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat momentarily to add lemon juice to octopus.  Return to heat until all lemon juice is absorbed and evaporated.  Remove from heat and plate.  Garnish with Microgreens.

Upcoming Events:

Hot wing challenge on July 14th starting at 7 p.m.
Meatball challenge on August 18th.
Wine maker’s dinner August 15th.

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