It’s not a Japanese restaurant. It’s an American restaurant influenced by Japan. But no matter what you call it, it’s all Taibe.
Kawa Ni, chef-owner Bill Taibe’s third restaurant in Westport, scheduled to open Aug. 20, is sure to be another winner for the James Beard-nominated chef.
Bill Taibe and his brother Jeff, Kawa Ni’s chef, traveled to Japan last winter and ate their way through Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. The menu at Kawa Ni, which means “on the river,” in this case the Saugatuck, reflects Bill Taibe’s love of the pristine nature of Japanese cuisine and its respect for ingredients.
But Kawa Ni is also fun. “It’s our own wacky interpretation,” he says, of a Japanese Izakaya, an informal tavern that serves small plates.
The 42-seat restaurant is paneled in cedar. There’s a long communal table and 9-seat eating bar and a few booths. Kawa Ni is decorated with artifacts Jeff Taibe picked up on his travels, such as Maneki Neko, the statues of cats with raised paws, known as fortune cats, which are believed to bring good luck.
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