If there is any cuisine that is not represented well in Fairfield County, it is Asian, but all of that is about to change. Bill Taibe, Owner of The Whelk and Le Farm, has informed CTbites that he has signed a lease on the old Bistro 88 space in Bridge Square, Saugatuck, and will be opening his 3rd venue by the beginning of summer. What now you ask? Think Asian.
This new venue will take its culinary and design inspiration from the traditional Izakaya Japanese pubs, which offer a casual dining experience, lots of small tapas-sized snacks, and great drinks. "I've wanted to do Asian since I was at Relish," says Taibe. When asked why Asian, Taibe stated, "In all honesty, it's the food that I gravitate towards most often...and we are always looking to challenge ourselves." "Imagine The Whelk...but Asian." The new venue will be a mix of Japanese and Chinese. "It's our own interpretation of Asian cuisine, but will draw from those regions."
So, in addition to Donburi Bowls (Japanese rice bowls with cooked or raw food on top of perfectly seasoned rice) you may find your classic Kung Pao Chicken, but you can bet that chicken has been locally sourced. The lobster sauce in the ever popular Shrimp with Lobster Sauce will be made in house...of course. Sure, there will be noodles to fill you up after the snacks, but noodles will be just one of many Asian edibles here.
Who will be creating all of this modern Asian cuisine? The Executive Chef will be none other than Bill Taibe's brother, Chef Jeff Taibe, who has worked in the kitchens of both The Whelk and le Farm, and was most recently the opening chef at Oak & Almond in Norwalk.
There will be a small bar and a communal table much like The Whelk experience, while the seating will take its design lead from Japanese subway benches. Lillian August will be on hand to help with the interior, but we know that traditional Japanese wood paneling will line the walls, and storage for bottle-kept service will reside on ledges around the dining room. Yep...buy your bottle, write your name on it and store it for later. We like it.
The bottom line. We are excited. You should be too. Stay tuned for updates on the build out, the mystery Chef, and an exciting new cocktail program.