Ramen is one of the great dishes of the world. Contained within a single bowl is the essence of all flavors; and the most recent pop-up restaurants overseen by Chef Mogan Anthony (Locali) just over the border into NY are phenomenal. Chef Mogan was raised in Singapore and was captivated, at an early age, by the flavors in Asian cuisine. His early training included studying under some of the best Asian chefs.
Entries in Japanese (25)
The best places, I believe, are the more unassuming places. The little treasures that are off the beaten path, hidden away where you least expect. The best food is the food that is what it is – unpretentious, fresh and bursting with flavor. And that’s the best way to describe this new unassuming little Japanese restaurant in Stamford, Soosh.
It was a social media friend of mine, Pierre-Christian D. Frye, owner of PCDF Architecture in Greenwich, who first told me about Soosh. Perhaps he was a bit biased as he was hired as the restaurant’s architect. He explained how he turned what was basically an old storage space into a stylish Japanese eatery.
“For the new Soosh restaurant I worked closely with the owner to bring the vision to life of a truly modern, timeless dining experience. I accentuated the compact space with unique lighting and a rich mix of textures, tiles, wood and metal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.