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Entries in Asian (55)


Mecha Noodle Bar Opens in Downtown New Haven

Mecha Noodle Bar, which opened its first restaurant in Fairfield in 2013 and later its second site in South Norwalk in 2015, opens its third location in the heart of downtown New Haven. Located at 201 Crown Street, this 2000-square-foot spot will offer the ultimate comfort food in New Haven appealing to students, residents, business people and families alike with its menu of Asian comfort food options at affordable price points.

For those not already familiar with the menu at Mecha Noodle Bar, the menu features signature dishes such as ramen and pho as well as other flavorful selections such as steamed baos and a well curated selection of Asian plates borrowing from Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese traditions. The menu has been created to soothe, nourish, sustain and inspire – at a modest price. 80% of the core menu in New Haven will be similar to its sister locations with the remainder of the menu debuting new dishes with a Mecha twist. And of course, “Slurping is encouraged” as clearly stated on the menu.

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Kawa Ni Now Offering Patio Dining in Westport

Great news for those looking for a unique outdoor dining spot as we slowly ease our way into the warmer months. The patio above Kawa Ni is officially open for business. What patio, you ask? It may be stealthy, but overlooking the Saugatuck River, and decked with twinkling lights, this small waterside gem is sure to become a go-to spot this summer.  

Here’s the deal. The deck is available via stairs next door to Kawa Ni and is open on a first come first serve basis. Diners can enjoy the full Kawa Ni menu casually served in takeout containers, kinda like a picnic.  The somewhat hidden door and metal stairs have a vague speakeasy vibe, but it’s really just "another way to enjoy Kawa Ni,” says chef/owner, Bill Taibe. 

Enhancing the patio experience are two familiar faces, guest hosts Carissa and Maddy, from The Stand Juice Bar (Norwalk and Fairfield). They bring with them both their sparkling personalities, as well as some of The Stand’s juices and blends to enjoy while looking into the river. 

Speaking of ramen, there will be a few cold menu additions diners can look forward to in the upcoming summer months. Chef Jeff Taibe has been working on cold soba dishes, as well as hiyashi chuka, or cold ramen, topped with a variety of local seasonal veggies and proteins.  

See you up on the patio…if you can find it. 


The Uber-Guide to Connecticut’s Asian Markets

“From wonder into wonder existence opens,” said Laozi, the founder of Tao Buddhism.

He might have been speaking of the joys of the table, so central to Asian culture for millennia---and to Connecticut foodies today. 

Almost 160,000 people of Asian descent call Connecticut home, and a considerable number of grocery stores in the state support the diverse cooking traditions of China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. True to both their Asian roots and the universal principle of making the best of fresh ingredients, quite often the most modest such store will have a produce section and a fish section---in one case, at least, featuring live fish.

Your guide to the best East and Southeast Asian markets of Connecticut appears below.

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Miro Kitchen Opens in Fairfield With Chef From Hapa Food Truck

With much anticipation and excitement Miro Kitchen recently opened its doors on Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield. The new eatery is the collective brainchild of Eugene Kabilnitsky, former owner of Tomato and Basil, and Hapa Food Truck’s Chris Gonzales. I recently sat down with the two to talk about the inspiration behind this creative collaboration.

“My wife and I were both working from home and we found ourselves going to the Hapa Food Truck at least twice a week,” Kabilnitsky told me. “We couldn’t get enough! At the time I was set to open another Italian restaurant at this location and was in the process of hammering out details.” But then he started to wonder whether the Hapa concept might work in the restaurant space. He joked that after visiting the truck 100 or so times he shared his idea with Chris, and subsequent conversations led to the current partnership, and Miro, an expansion of the wildly popular Hapa Food Truck, was born.

The best way to describe the cuisine is to say it is a play on Pacific, Asian and Hawaiian street food with an American twist, mixing the exotic with the familiar.

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Nom-Eez Opens in Bridgeport: Vietnamese (With a Side of Donuts)

The official opening of Nom-Eez, Chef Matt Storch’s new Vietnamese street food storefront, in the Blackrock section of Bridgeport occurs today. As reported by CTbites, joining Storch for this new project are his partners from Match, Jason Wojnarowski (owner of the epically delicious Donut Crazy), and Susan McConnell. CTbites was invited to a sneak peek preview to sample some of the menu and a few donuts.

The menu is divided into three sections, “snacks,” “noodles” and “a bit larger.” The space is small in size, with only eight brightly colored red stools, and the flavors are equally bold and bright and engulf you in the traditional cuisine of Vietnam.

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Pho 170 Opens in Middletown: Vietnamese + Thai Cuisine Gets Top Marks

“That’s it,” I overheard a man say with a smile, holding his takeout order as he joked about having come in four days in a row. The word is out downtown...Pho 170, M’town’s newest/latest, is busy. The service is friendly and attentive, showing this new kid on the block is already in the groove, cranking out fresh and delicious dishes—both Vietnamese and Thai.

It’s not been quite three weeks since Viengthong Charonesuk opened the doors to her newest restaurant. And, unlike so many other spots when they first get started, everything’s well under control. Even on a night when they were one person short on the waitstaff, they pulled everything off without a hitch. Vieng hails most recently from Bann Thai in Cheshire, and she’s run restaurants in other locations across the state as well. Little things, like making sure you have extra plates when you share a dish, aren’t overlooked. And it’s always a nice touch when your water glass is refilled before you even need to ask.

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MECHA Launches Late Night Menu in Sono

MECHA in Sono is launching their Late Night Menu served Thu 10pm-12pm, Fri and Sat 10pm-1am.

The Late Night Menu will feature special snacks and Ramen as well as cocktails you can only get after hours. To celebrate, they will be introducing the menu and hosting a PARTY Thursday, February 11th at 10PM. Enjoy some special treats from the kitchen (even some complimentary chicken sandwiches) and some amazing cocktails from their late night market menu.

A few highlights from the Late Night Menu include: THIT BO KHO beef brisket jerky, SHOYU BREAKFAST RAMEN w/ brown butter, bacon, egg, and cheese; WONTON MI RAMEN w/ fried shallots, sesame, greens, pork & shrimp wontons $10.

Remember, slurping in encouraged. 

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King & I Thai Kitchen in Hartford and Manchester: A Family Affair 

Blink and you can easily miss the little white house as you drive down Park Street in Hartford’s Parkville section. So keep an eye out, because it’s home to a fine family business specializing in Thai and Lao dishes—generous portions, reasonably priced. And if you head east of the river, you’ll find the exact same menu and great food in Manchester.

There are many choices closer to home when it comes to Thai, but when the craving hits, I make tracks for King & I. It’s changed management over time, but the food remains just as delicious as it ever was. In fact, it’s amazingly consistent. How is that even possible?

The secret to their success starts in a tiny kitchen with their cook. Behind the scenes, the same woman has been busy stirring up deliciousness for the past 10 years. When the previous owner sold the restaurant four and a half years ago, Hongkham Munesaleum was already part of the kitchen. But now, with her husband, Lam, washing dishes, and his daughter Lilly, serving the front of the house (literally!), it’s all in the family.

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Five of Connecticut's Best Noodle Houses via CT Magazine

College students and twenty-somethings everywhere have long sung the praise of ramen (a Japanese wheat noodle dish). Grab-and-go noodle houses specializing in pho, (a Vietnamese rice noodle soup) have been popular here in Connecticut for some time. However, the love of noodle houses seems to have intensified as a by-product in recent years—along with food trucks, craft beer and facial hair—of the hipster revolution. Kawa Ni in Westport, which specializes in various ramen dishes, opened its doors last year and Mecha Noodle Bar in Fairfield recently announced plans to open a second location in South Norwalk. 

Here are five of our favorite destinations in the state. As always, if we’ve missed your favorite let us know. 

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Can Tiin Opens in Bridgeport: Inspired Dishes with a Vietnamese Flair 

CTBites readers who don’t live in Bridgeport now have an excellent reason to drive and dine there with the opening of Can Tiin in the downtown area. The dishes at Can Tiin (pronounced “canteen”) lead with a Vietnamese influence, are based on French techniques, and incorporate other Asian flavors. This culinary panoply is deftly handled by Chef Brian Reilly, who explained, “We take traditional Vietnamese dishes and honor them, but allow ourselves the latitude to experiment and go out of the box a little. We continually challenge ourselves to push the envelope without getting cute or overly fussy.” The result is neither cute, nor fussy, but fun, inventive and tasty. (Read our opening announcement for details on the management team.)

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