NORWALK, Conn. —The multi-level Pan-Asian newcomer to South Norwalk’s dining street is Ch’i Public House, where diners may harken dishes they tried at the famed three-story Tao in Manhattan.
It wouldn't be a coincidence because, "Our chef used to be a sous chef at Tao's," Marco Siguenza, one of the owners, told Daily Voice.
He opened the restaurant in November with partners Rob Moss and Dave Studwell.
The trio also own Washington Prime in Norwalk, which Moss and Siguenza opened in 2014, and a second location of Washington Prime on Main Street in Georgetown since May. The steakhouse earned the top rank from Connecticut Magazine in the Best Restaurants in Connecticut 2016: Experts' Picks.
Siguenza, now 38, was born in Cuenca, Ecuador, and came to the United States in the late 1990s. He said that buying restaurants became his goal after working as a busboy at Match in Norwalk.
“I had a great manager, the owner. He introduced me to this world of restaurants and always inspired me to open my own," Siguenza said. "He’s a very hard worker.”
The restaurant business means working many hours, but he's not complaining. "Everyone works seven days a week in restaurants," Siguenza said.
Turning his focus to the new establishment, Siguenza didn't delay in describing its best dish.
“They’re all best dishes, from stir-fried rice to ahi tuna, which is amazing here," he said.
Pan-Asian is mainly Chinese cuisine made with organic ingredients and includes gluten-free dishes. There are influences of Korean, Malaysian, Thai and Japanese food in the menu.
The menu also features Thai chili, filet mignon with asparagus, peppers, onions and potatoes, angry lobster tail, Kobe beef tataki and cevi-ch'i, an appetizer of tuna, salmon, and yellowtail.
Siguenza recently made another big move: relocating from Norwalk to Stratford. "It's by the water. I love it," he said in a phone interview.
Ch’i Public House at 128 Washington St. in South Norwalk occupies the space formerly used by Red Lulu.
Click here for the restaurant's website.