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Entries in Asian (44)


Junzi Kitchen Opens in New Haven

Photo: Reed Immer, Junzi Kitchen

A chun-bing (spring-pancake), is traditionally eaten to celebrate the arrival of spring in chinese culture. Its origins as a humble culinary tradition are tied to the Qin dynasty (265 - 240 ad), when chun-bing was prepared with fresh spring ingredients to signal the spring harvest and a return to the land. It’s become a year-round staple in northern China where you can find it in street carts, restaurants, and on sunday dinner tables. And now on 21 Broadway in New Haven at Junzi Kitchen which opened this week.

Junzi co-founders Ming Bai, Wanting Zhang, and Yong Zhao grew up in a transitional time in northeast China when the population was experiencing many modernizations. Instead of growing food on their own, supermarkets became a predominant food source for families out of convenience, but it was clear that something special was being lost in the process.

Nostalgia for the spring flavors of home led the fellow Yale grad students to launch Junzi Kitchen. "I wanted to show people that Chinese food can be simple, healthy, and satisfying, something you can eat every day," said co-founder Yong Zhao. The result is an experience that challenges the way you think about Chinese food.

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The Spread Team Opening El Segundo in South Norwalk Featuring Street Food From Around The Globe

After 3 successful years in South Norwalk, the team from The Spread has just announced that they have signed a lease in the SoNo Ironworks complex. In early 2016 an exciting new restaurant concept will be coming to CT diners. The name is El Segundo and the idea is simple. Spread owners Christpher Hickey, Christopher Rasile, Andrey Cortes, and Shawn Longyear alongside Chef Carlos Baez have created a menu that features street food from around the globe that everyone loves to eat:  tacos, arepas, ceviche, Asian bao, light salads and a little comfort food thrown in for good measure. The setting is casual and fun, with a price point that will make diners in South Norwalk smile.  And the bar? Let’s just say these guys know a thing or two about bartending.  

Directly across from Harlan Publick, El Segundo is poised to deliver a uniquely fun dining experience to Fairfield County. The restaurant features an open kitchen with bar seating, allowing diners to watch Chef Carlos as he re-creates dishes from his childhood, including his father’s recipe for Tacos Al Pastor. Large windows make this space light and airy and garage doors will open up to the Ironworks courtyard in the warmer months. 

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Meet Doom Noodle, New Haven's Ramen Pop-up Restaurant

Doom Noodle, a weekly ramen pop-up restaurant will launch this Sunday, September 27 at Firehouse 12 in New Haven.  

The pop-up's weekly core menu will offer two options for ramen, a weekly bao offering, and shrimp chips, available as eat-in or take-out. Drinks will be available separately from the Firehouse 12 cocktail menu. Dinner starts on Sundays at  6 pm until they sell out.

The duo behind Doom Noodle, Jordan Waters and Molly Kennedy, are recent New Haven transplants who enjoyed participating in a weekly supper club. Jordan, who assumes the cooking responsibilities, and Molly, the creative who will run the front of house, see Doom Noodle as an evolution of their club and a reflection of what they like to eat. 

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MECHA Noodle Bar Opening in Downtown SoNo, Norwalk

Fans of Mecha Noodle Bar in Fairfield, residents of Norwalk, and noodle lovers everywhere will rejoice in the news that Mecha will be opening a second location right in SoNo’s downtown Washington Street. “We believe in the resurgence of SoNo, that this type of cuisine is a good fit for this urban area,” says Pham. SoNo residents can already be seen peering curiously into the spot that once housed Joe Bruno’s renown Pasta Nostra, now boasting windows lined with garden variety Ramen packets…a sign of things to come.  

Mecha owner and chef, Tony Pham, will be joined by longtime friend and owner of Mézon, Richard Reyes. The team grew up together in Bethel with extended families who loved to gather around food, specifically Pho and Hot Pot, courtesy of the Phams. Sharing food with people they love is part of their collective DNA, and Pho is a “Universal comfort food,” says Pham.

For those not already familiar with the menu at Mecha, we’re talking ramen, pho, steamed baos and a well curated selection of Asian plates. Slurping is encouraged, as clearly stated on the menu. 

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Can Tiin Modern French Vietnamese Bistro Opening in Bridgeport

There's a new Vietnamese on the block, and we are pretty excited about this one. CanTiin, a modern French Vietnamese bistro is opening at 269 Fairfield Ave in Bridgeport this October. Can Tiin boasts Chef Brian Reilly, (you might remember the name from Vespa in Westport). Chef Brian has noodles in his culinary DNA as his resume includes the role of Executive Chef at Noodle Cat in Ohio, back when high quality noodles were just starting to catch on.

Can Tiin's COO Kevin D Lalumiere is joined by Rachel Haughey from NEAT of Darien and Westport, thus completing the management team. 

Now let's talk Menus....Lunch is broken down into Pho, Banh Mi, Steam Buns, Salads & Starters, and Noodle & Frys. The Dinner menu features a mouthwatering array of dishes including Spiced Duck Breast, Pork Belly with Daikon, Crispy Rice & Coconut Crepe, Spicy Baby Octopus Stor Fry, Marrow & Miso, and a nice twist on the classic burger, a Grilled Burger Steam Bun.

We will update you on additional details and the opening date as we move into October. 

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Pho Hong Thom: A Must Eat Vietnamese Gem in Bridgeport

Here’s a little secret...SHHHH!!!  We got a tip from those in the know - and by that I mean some of Fairfield County’s finest chefs - that the place “around town” for truly authentic Vietnamese Pho is PHO HONG THOM on Wood Ave in Bridgeport. Naturally, we FORCED ourselves to give it a try. Tiny, unpretentious, even down-right plain, patrons come here for the food, not the decor. But they come. Empty when we arrived at 11:30 but jam packed by noon, PHO HONG THOM draws ‘em in and keeps ‘em coming back for more. Here’s why:

PHO HONG THOM gets its name from Hong and Thom Nguyen, owners of this family-run establishment in the heart of Bridgeport. Originally from a tiny village near Hanoi, the Nguyen family are “all in” with sons and a daughter helping out whenever possible. This is family cooking at its best and you get a hint of that as a mosaic of flavors greet your nose upon arrival. Broth is at the heart of this menu - and I’ll tell you what Pho..

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Hana Tokyo Opens in Fairfield CT @ The Brick Walk

Hana Tokyo opened in Fairfield’s Brick Walk Plaza just a few weeks ago, and locals seem to be embracing the new restaurant with open arms. Owner Alan Wu recently relocated from Alexandria, Virginia to be closer to his family. Born and raised in China, he came to the US in his mid-20s and landed in New York City where he immersed himself in the world of gourmet sushi, learning everything possible about the trade. In 2002 he opened the original Hana Tokyo and after 13 successful years as the busiest Japanese restaurant in town, Wu and his restaurant now come to us. Wu prides himself on using only the freshest available ingredients, making everything in-house, and offering unparalleled service.

The new restaurant (which many will recognize as the former Tomba) has a contemporary, earthy feel. As one enters the restaurant, a large mural of a Japanese woman in a kimono, painted by renowned local artist, Suzanne Bellehumeur, greets you as you enter the facility and a small sushi bar constructed from reclaimed wood is to the right. Contemporary and traditional Japanese décor are combined to give the space a look that is modern yet traditional. The main dining area has 8 hibachi tables, a sushi bar, a lounge, plus 20 outside seats.

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Kawa Ni's Chef Jeff Taibe's Recipe for Szechuan Stewed Beans

Jeff Taibe is currently the executive chef of Kawa-Ni in Westport bringing Izakaya style Japanese to CT. Chef Jeff's creative, simple and seasonal cooking style is his hallmark as seen in Kawa Ni's menu. Taibe will be at The Westport Farmers' Market Thursday, September 25th, 10:15 AM demo-ing and serving up a Kawa Ni favorite (well, one of my favorites), Szechuan Stewed Beans. 

If you can't make it to the market to watch Jeff in action, please enjoy his recipe for the incredibly delicious, Szechuan Stewed Beans below. 

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Kawa Ni: An Exclusive First Look at Bill Taibe’s Izakaya-inspired Restaurant in Westport

CTbites was invited for an exclusive first look inside Chef Bill Taibe’s new restaurant, Kawa Ni, in Westport’s Bridge Square this week. Kawa Ni means “on the river,” an apt name for a restaurant in Saugatuck whose cuisine and service will take its cues from the informal Izakaya joints found in the Japanese cities of Kyoto and Osaka.

Is it an american restaurant with japanese aspirations? Or is it a japanese restaurant with american inspirations? Both, says Taibe, who distills his love of post war japanese culture and a farm house style approach to japanese food within the walls of the intimate Kawa Ni.  

Equal parts food and drink, with a capital F-U-N atmosphere, the 40-seat Izakaya-inspired restaurant will get the party started by the end of the month.

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My Signature Dish: Chef Tony Pham of Mecha Noodle Bar, Fairfield Talks Ramen


Ramen Shops in Japan are as plentiful as hamburger joints over here.  Every street boasts a shop.  Yet none are exactly alike, mainly because each is distinguished by the owner’s unique signature dish, his personal  autograph.  In that tradition, Tony Pham has created his own signature dish for Mecha Noodle Bar: a unique interpretation of traditional Miso Ramen.  Here’s the story behind it.

Tony likes to play with contrasts.  And not just the culinary kind.  

Case in point.  Before trying his signature dish, Miso Ramen, take a look overhead at his futuristic Mecha Noodle Bar.  Dangling from the ceiling, an arsenal of over three hundred vertical 2x4’s seem to be aimed directly at every table in the room.  Alien, threatening.  

By design.

Now try  Pham’s dramatic interpretation of a classical Ramen.  No, don’t taste it, slurp it.  Breath in its steamy aromatic bouquet.  Savor the deep, contrasting flavors: mushrooms and miso redolent of the earth, noodles that invoke wheat fields,  a succulent pork belly that also warms and welcomes, counterpointed by the lively spice and heat of scallion and chili oil.  It’s Japanese comfort food,a perfect  contrast after a playful scare. 

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