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Entries in Japanese (23)

Tuesday
Oct282014

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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Sunday
Aug102014

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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Wednesday
Jul302014

Fjord Fish Market Serving Sushi At Greenwich, New Canaan & Now Westport Locations

Fjord Fish Market has some big news for sushi lovers. Fjord Fish Market started selling sushi at their Cos Cob and New Canaan locations a few months ago, and the Westport sushi program will launch in August. You'll never have to wonder about the freshness or quality of the fish you're eating at Fjord because first and foremost Fjord is one of Fairfield County's finest fish markets. Trust us...it's good. 

“The Fjord name has always been synonymous with the highest quality seafood, says Owner Jim Thistle. Adding Sushi to our product mix is a natural extension of the brand”.

Sushi at Fjord is hand rolled daily, under the guidance of a Manhattan-trained Sushi Master who has over a decade of experience.  Some of the most popular items include the volcano roll—a California roll topped  with baked lobster salad and spicy sauce-- and the Fjord tower, a scrumptious roll filled with Tuna, Avocado, Crabmeat, Lobster Salad and a blend of sauces.

You can be sure the fish in our sushi is of the same premium quality as all the Seafood that they sell at Fjord, where they carefully source and select only the top of the catch. All of Fjord's seafood is also free of antibiotics and colorings.

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Tuesday
Jul012014

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

MY SLURPY SIGNATURE DISH

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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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."

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov242013

Mecha Noodle Bar Brings Asian Noodles & Street Food to Fairfield

Post opening tweaks are commonplace during the first few months after a restaurant's opening. With Mecha’s minor changes completed, it now firmly fills the belly rumbling void of Southeast Asian Noodles and street food, popularizing Ramen, Pho and South East Asian comfort food.

Owner Tony Pham, who also owns Pho Vietnam in Danbury, saw an opportunity in Fairfield, to capture the hearts and hungry stomachs of the Fairfield U student bodies by opening a Ramen noodle bar. This small, but cozy, space is an architecturally clean, eye pleasing mix of Modern Asian décor...with a long community table in the center and block style tables around its perimeter. There is some additional seating circling the "bar" with colorful Asian ceramic stools adding some pop and a touch of elegance to this casual space. Pham is committed to keeping his two restaurants a "family affair," and you may be seated, served, or cooked for, by one of his family members! 

When I first visited with Tony in September, Ramen noodles were the main attraction on his menu. Several months later, Mecha’s menu is now representative of Japan’s different regional nuances with the current soup bases including Shoyu, Miso and Chicken.

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Thursday
Jun202013

Mecha Noodle Bar Opens in Fairfield: An Interview w/ Tony Pham

Ramen noodles are having "their moment," and restaurateur Tony Pham, owner of Pho Vietnam in Danbury has just opened a new venture in Fairfield that will have fans of Asian food slurping without pause. Welcome to MECHA. 

Pham, a Vietnamese American who opened Pho Vietnam at the tender age of 21, again uses his raw talent drawing from his years of experience traveling around the world and working in numerous kitchens.  His newest baby, Mecha, located on Post Road in Fairfield is a hip, cozy joint that serves up Ramen as well as Asian street food. Consulting with a master Ramen chef, Tony Pham is placing all bets on this age old Japanese noodle..and we hear Pho is on the way. For a new restaurant aiming directly at the college crowd around Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, it's a perfect match.

Read our interview with Tony Pham below to find out more about Tony's family, the history of Ramen, the meaning of "MECHA," and what inspires Tony Pham. 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec022012

Pink Sumo Opens in Westport w/ Former Nobu Chef

Why Pink? Why Sumo? I'm not sure that I understand the restaurant's name (as it conjures up images of a very large, pony-tailed wrestler in fuchsia bikini bottoms) but there is no mistaking the quality of the food at Westport's latest Sushi and Sake cafe, PINK SUMO! Located at 8 Church Street, across from the YMCA and the colossally popular Spotted Horse, PINK SUMO suits the cozy, subterranean space that formally housed Manolo and, before that, Zest. Those restaurants couldn't seem to make it work in this location but I am pretty sure that PINK SUMO is here to stay. Here's why...

For starters, PINK SUMO'S owner, Skye Kwok, is doing it right by employing former NOBU Sushi Bar chef Eric Cheng to run the kitchen. With great expertise and aplomb, Cheng presents each dish as a work of art. And as the painter chooses the best oils for her art, Cheng uses the highest quality sushi-grade fish purchased by Kwok (also owner of SWEET BASIL in Fairfield) from YAMA, the renowned Japanese fish purveyor in New Jersey. Experienced chef, high quality fish and charming, newly popular location are certainly the ingredients for success. 

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Sunday
Sep232012

WAFU Asian Bistro Opens in Southport

If you Google or Bing the word "Wafu" it translates to "Japanese-style," but when I asked Elaine Chen, the proprietor of the new WAFU Asian Bistro in Southport, her definition was "peace and harmony." The new Wafu, located at 3671 Post Road (formerly Friendly's) seems to be a little bit of both. Chen, from the FUJIAN PROVINCE of China, and her husband (the restaurant's lead sushi chef), have created an ASIAN establishment where Japanese, Chinese and Thai food mesh perfectly in a serene and sophisticated environment. Although it's difficult to telll from the exterior, the decor once inside is New York chic (and perhaps a tiny bit over the top with Swarski Chandeliers and neon-blue lighting). Menus are presented on ipads and you sit comfortably at your glossy tables on your white-leathered booth. Sure, it's a bit shi shi, but shi shi works at WAFU. The food is good for a "multi-culture" menu, the decor is funky and, though it looks fancy, it turns out to be a very kid-friendly establishment.

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Friday
Sep072012

Shanghai Asian Bistro: Shanghai Opens Second Location in Norwalk

Occasionally, we like to get a few opinions on a restaurant. Here are two shorts from Cathy Siroka and James Gribbon on Shanghai Bistro.

If you’re in South Norwalk and want a simple, easy place to go before a movie or out with the kids – try Shanghai Asian Bistro. They recently opened a second location at 124 Washington St., with their first one in Westport at 1715 Post Rd East.  Owner, John Jiang, had been carefully looking for a second location for years, and has seen such a huge change in the traffic and excitement in downtown Norwalk, and finally felt that “now was the right time.” 

While the menu has the Chinese classics like shrimp with duck sauce and General Tsao’s  chicken, the restaurant also offers an array of other Asian inspired dishes and many ways to customize your order according to your tastes and dietary preferences.  Jiang explains his menu as “all-Asian, not just Chinese, a sampling of the flavors of China, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan.”

Click to read more ...