There are good restaurants that leave you pleasantly satisfied and there are those that leave you thinking “what the HELL just happened?” in the best way possible. I arrived at Kawa Ni in Westport on Saturday expecting a nice lunch with my fiance and left shaking my head in total disbelief and utter delight.
Nick has been clamoring to come here since it opened, since we sorely lack anything resembling an Izakaya inspired restaurant up in our neck of the woods. And, after spending time in Japan a couple years back, the food bar has been set pretty high.
Beyond the intimate setting with charmingly mismatched plating, eclectic decor, and communal seating, Kawa Ni excels in their food and drink game like no other.
When we came in for lunch, I sadly opted out of the gorgeous cocktail selection (got my eye on the Schochu Chuhai – next time!) but shared a bottle of light, crisp sake to complement the meal. The rest of the drink menu is glorious – craft cocktails, creative sake bombs, and a well-selected Japanese whiskey list.
And, the meal. Oh dear god. We started with two shared plates, the first being charred peaches with cucumber, hazelnuts, and a watercress garnish followed by an insanely flavorful (understatement) plate of smoked bone marrow with clam tsukemono (pickled clams basically) and bonito, accompanied by buttery toast. Rich, decadent, remarkable.
Nick moved on to the brisket mazeman (fermented chili sofrito, shoyu egg & tonkatsku noodles) which we both enjoyed but my duck ramen stole the show. I started giggling like a madwoman after my first sip of broth – that’s how good it was. I just didn’t know what to do with my emotions. And here’s why: tender slices of duck with smoked foie gras schmatz, mushrooms, soft egg and soba noodles.
I’m coming back, and soon. I’m going to eat my way through the entire menu but it’ll surely be a struggle trying to order something other than that damn delicious duck ramen.