Scale Back (with a sushi roll or two )
If you’re looking to lighten up this season, head to one of these local restaurants that specialize in innovative Asian cuisine
istockphoto.com/© Sławomir Przybyłkowicz
1253 Post Rd., Fairfield, 203-255-6788
Specializing in fresh, imaginative sushi, sashimi and hand rolls, the food here is both delicious and moderately priced. Those in a hurry may take advantage of their “Lunch Box Specials,” which include fresh salad or miso soup, rice, a three-piece California roll, spring roll, and entrée. You can also delight in sushi bar appetizers, perfect for a quick bite, like the tako su sliced octopus with vinegar sauce or the usuzukuri, a thinly sliced fluke served with ponzu sauce. For those seeking libations, try one of their many cold sakes originating from Oregon (yes, Oregon) and Japan.
L: Mon.-Fri. D: 7 days
1795 Post Rd., Fairfield, 203-255-6888
This modern restaurant and bar promises a cross-cultural dynamic that integrates New York urbanity, Asian artistic sophistication, and most important, a well-chosen selection of Japanese dishes. Kiraku is known for its sushi, so try innovative offerings like the sweet, spicy and crunchy tropical roll, bursting with scallops, cucumber, wasabi, lobster, and mango. Or ditch the rice altogether and opt for the spicy crunchy tuna naruto, a five-piece roll with spicy tuna, avocado, and tempura flakes wrapped in cucumber. For something hot off the skillet, specialty dishes include red snapper, Thai green curry, and Malaysian red curry.
L and D: 7 days
284 Black Rock Tpk., Fairfield, 203-384-8888
For those looking to take a culinary trip to the Pacific Rim (minus the airfare), Sweet Basil will satisfy all your pan-Asian cravings without ever leaving town. Once hooked, you’ll find yourself looking for excuses to leave work early for their 3-7 p.m. happy hour, that includes half-priced appetizers (including three classic rolls for ten dollars) and on some nights, BOGO drinks. Favorites among loyalists are the rock shrimp, deep-fried and served in a margarita glass with lettuce and a sauce reminiscent of thousand island dressing...sounds odd, but it is highly addictive. The crazy tuna and fire island roll, with pepper tuna and salmon, respectively, are sure to become favorites, as is the Malaysian noodle bowl, chock-full of shrimp, scallop, squid, and mussels in a curry broth with egg noodles (these can be substituted for udon noodles for a little added heft).
L and D: 7 days
1275 Post Rd., Fairfield, 203-256-8454
Who isn’t intrigued by shrimp flying in the air? For a fun night out, head to Tombo and prepare for a Hibachi experience. The chefs here are quick, engaging, and theatrical…and the best part of this show is that there’s food throughout. While traditional sushi is on the menu, the fun is in the grilling experience. You can expect the standard hibachi offerings of steak, chicken, and shrimp, but for the vegetarians among us, the organic tofu and vegetable grill will bring a smile to your face. Note: Not every meal comes with the flaming fanfare, so you can order meals at a table for “regular” service. However, if you’re craving the full hibachi experience, call ahead to reserve those spots because they go fast. To quench your thirst, take full advantage of the tiki bar specials, like the zombie, nutty monkey or mai tai, all of which will have you singing like a rock star during their karaoke nights.
L: Mon.-Sat. D: Mon.-Sun.
1612 Post Rd., Fairfield, 203-255-1688
Some might argue that the half-price wine bottles are enough to get us to Wild Rice on Monday and Tuesday nights, (which would be true), but the added benefit is that the food is super-fresh and the place has quickly become busy. Local’s flock here because of unusual offerings like the Caribbean roll with shrimp tempura, fried banana, spicy tuna, crushed peanut, and coconut flakes. For those less experimental, opt for the 5 Elements roll with spicy lobster salad and kani topped with salmon, yellowtail, eel, tuna, and shrimp. During warmer days, enjoy the intimate outdoor seating area.
L and D: 7 days