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« The Weekly Nibble: Upcoming Food News & Events | Main | 10 Questions for Jeffrey Lizotte of Hartford's ON20 »
Thursday
Mar272014

Chef Bill Taibe Opening New Asian Restaurant in Westport

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.  

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Reader Comments (23)

Yay! This is great news! Can't wait! If only he would come bring some of his magic to Greenwich.

March 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermla19

Wish these guys would come to New Haven.

March 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRK

Much needed...Bistro 88 was an embarrassment! Very excited!

March 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersushifan

Just what we need, another Chinese
joint.

March 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFoodieonline

@Foodieonline - we need it considerably more than your whining.

March 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJ.G.

@Foodieonline - we need it considerably more than your whining.

March 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJ.G.

@ J.G. ha!

In seriousness, nothing about this summary says "another Chinese joint". It's going to be modeled after a Japanese Izakaya, albeit with dishes spanning the Asian continent. I don't know of any other Izakayas around here (lots in NYC, though).

And with Chef Taibe behind the wheel, I would welcome any type of cuisine (even if it were another Chinese joint).

March 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermla19

@foodieonline, you annoy everyone with your "just what we need, another _______ restaurant" comments. Secondly we are all anxiously awaiting the opening of your "vietnamese cheeseburger buffet." It's never been done before, so it will probably be better than another bill taibe restaurant.

I think I will open a "Farm to Table" place. Its a new concept.... the food is actually grown on a farm.
How gullible the public is.

March 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterfoodieonline

I can't wait!! He puts such care into his restaurants and food!!! I'm in!!!

March 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

@ Foodieonline you mock the term "farm to table" when you call yourself a foodie. In my experience people who refer to themselves as a foodies are usually anything but.... I am sick of the negativity people bring to these wonderful posts and blogs that the ctbites crew and other bloggers try to share with everyone. To have a negative comment about what Bill has done or is trying to do is ridiculous. He has shared his passion for the farm community, and practices what he preaches. I want to wish Bill, Mossimo and crew good luck with this. It is fun to see the imagination and the love of food brought to life. Many Chefs take the easy road Chef Bill is always pushing for something new and exciting.

GOOD LUCK!!!

March 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterhatethetermfoodie

Once again, a real name policy would eradicate the trolls and the shills.

Foodieonline clearly doesn't understand the F2T concept, which is meant to minimally disrupt the path from (local) grower to local restaurant. While there are certainly bad F2T restaurants because of the quality of the chefs and staff, even the best cook will be limited by sub-par raw materials - and (for instance) previously frozen ingredients are generally sub-par. Besides which, I like the idea of supporting local restaurants that support local growers - another basic tenet of F2T. Maybe this helps Foodiesonline understand? Though, as Mayor Koch said, "I can explain it to you, but I can't comprehend it for you."

But to the OP, while I admit to being generally hesitant about hybrid-cuisine efforts, I have no doubt that if anyone can pull this off, Bill can. The Whelk has gone from strength to strength and remains the best restaurant in the area in the 18+ years that I have lived here. This sounds a little bit like a casual version of what David Bouley has done in the city with Brushstroke. I can't wait to try it.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris Grimm

I think that any bloggers or reviewers remarks rise or fall on the strength of the arguments employed and the accuracy and usefulness of the information provided, whether one calls oneself Chris, realguy, or Elmer J. Fudd.

The name is not the point. The honesty is.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterrealguy

No, Realguy, when someone uses a silly pseud, people have no idea who they are or what their motives are. I'll type slow so you understand.

If "Realguy" posts a glowing review of Joe's Pizza Parlor, he may simply be "Joe" shilling his Pizza Parlor. Maybe "Realguy" trashes the place - but, hey, he could be "Sam" with the pizza parlor next door.

Without identifying oneself, there is no way of knowing if the post is honest.

Obviously, the trend on websites is to get away from anonymous commenting - for some obvious reasons.

The two main criticisms that I read on CT Bites are: 1. anonymous sniping at restaurants & 2. uncritical views of restaurants. Both could be addressed (#1 directly, and #2 indirectly) with the removal of anon posting.

We're not talking corporate secrets here - if one isn't willing to put their name behind comments about a restaurant, their comments aren't worth taking seriously at all.

April 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris Grimm

Chris Grimm........ It is a pizzeria, not a "pizza parlor".
I am not a "foodie" or pretend to be. It is called Satire.

April 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterfoodieonline

You guy's are all right. I'm actually just a jealous loser, with a really small dork. I'm sorry for bashing everyone all the time.

April 4, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterrealguy

Foodieonline - it's only satire when its funny.
(And it was a hypothetical example.)

April 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris Grimm

Bill Taibe, Mossimo if you are reading this.. Very excited for your new venture, but understand that you can't do Japanese Pub food at The Whelk prices....Shouldn't be more than $5 a plate.

April 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMeryl212

"If there is any cuisine that is not represented well in Fairfield County, it is Asian, but all of that is about to change."
Should read: "If there is any cuisine that is not represented well in Fairfield County by regionally famous WHITE chefs/owners... it is asian.
The descriptor "asian" covers the people of an entire continent, and there are plenty of great ASIAN restaurants in fairfield county.

Moving on, I am very excited for chef Bill Taibe's take. He is one of the few in that area who can not only pull it off, but make it amazing.

Very excited.

April 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjamesconway

If you want to see the mind blowing article with real facts and figures, this has really tremendous impacts on readers and I admire the writing skill of the author.

April 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlexSmith

James,

Please do tell me about the "plenty of great Asian restaurants" that you reference.

Other than Sakura's non-sushi offerings (which are great) and which I believe is owned by a white dude.

What are you talking? Wafu? Wild Ginger? Tiger Bowl????

Lemme know.

Actually there is one.

Ching's Table, where I go all the time. Name me another.

April 30, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterrealguy

Lao Sze Chuan in Milford is terrific.

(Though I do not dispute the broader point.)

April 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris Grimm

I hope he has a plan for parking- it's getting pretty congested down there!

June 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSueIseman

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