Note: This is not Sea Garden's salt and pepper squid, but you get the idea.
There are a number of ways to tackle a ridiculously long menu. You can rally your friends to join you at a table, maximizing the number of dishes ordered. You can fly your finger over the pages and enthusiastically choose a dish at random -- "Imitation tofu with cream sauce? Right on!" -- or implicitly concede defeat by ordering whatever you ate on your last visit. Or you might do the safe, smart thing, and ask for the dish that everyone else in the restaurant is eating.
At Sea Garden, that dish is the salt and pepper squid, a snacky concoction which merits all the adjectives that casual dining chains are forever plastering on their menus: It's crispy, it's garlicky, it's fiery, it's lightly-breaded and golden-fried. But it's still squid, which means it's an appetizer you'll never find at Applebee's.
The meaty squid are tossed in a wok with chili vinegar, blazing hot chiles, garlic, salt and Sichuan peppercorns. What emerges are crunchy-walled plugs of aggressively salty shellfish that should be sponsored by Tsingtao. Might as well order one of those too.