An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Aug 11, 2014
10:32 AM
The Connecticut Table

A CTbites First Look at Bill Taibe’s Japanese-Style Tavern in Westport

A CTbites First Look at Bill Taibe’s Japanese-Style Tavern  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 farmhouse-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.

What is Izakaya and how will Kawa Ni define its take on the Japanese-style tavern experience? At one end of the Japanese food spectrum is the highly constrained, food-centric and formal tradition of sushi. At the other end is Izakaya, a looser and occasionally raucous setting that is equal parts food and drink, heavy on the whiskey and beer, paired with small plates of food.

Kawa Ni’s menu will be filled with small plates of tofu, pickles, and dumplings, which are prep heavy so the service will be speedy. “You won’t need to come here to have an actual meal but you certainly could,” says Taibe.

Taibe and his executive chef and brother Jeff Taibe are still tweaking the menu, but we were promised it would celebrate their “love of tofu, lots of pickles, dumplings, and an experimentation with broths and ramen, as well as donburi.” Donburi, or rice bowls filled with raw fish, will be an important cornerstone of the menu, and Taibe will branch out from traditional pairings, borrowing heavily across cuisines, as traditional Izakaya often does.

See the full story at CTbites online.

 

A CTbites First Look at Bill Taibe’s Japanese-Style Tavern in Westport

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