Restaurateur James Chen has been busy. In September 2015, he and his wife, Sandy, debuted @ the Barn in the former Good Life Grill space in Granby, a contemporary American restaurant with elegant design and fare to match.
The American-style cuisine was a change of pace for Chen, who hired former Infinity Hall chef Dan Fortin to execute its upscale menu of steaks and seafood.
"I've got three Asian restaurants; I think that's the end," Chen told The Courant in January 2016. "I need something to challenge myself. I needed to educate myself a little more."
@ the Barn joined Chen's Green Tea in Simsbury, Han Asian Cuisine in Granby and Jimmy Chen's in East Windsor. But he had grander plans in the works for Green Tea, which for years had focused on traditional Chinese and Thai dishes.
Following the success of @ the Barn, Chen revamped the Simsbury restaurant from top to bottom, with a full-scale cosmetic renovation and brand-new, wide-ranging menu encompassing sushi, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese dishes as well as creative fusion plates.
"This is the type of restaurant Simsbury needed," Chen says. "There's not really a lot of choice for new-style Asian cuisine, fusion style."
Green Tea closed in June and reopened in late November as Table 570 Asian Fusion Cuisine, featuring modern, contemporary design in warm wood tones. The space features a large community table in the bar area, a new sushi bar and a private dining area, and Chen hopes to add a patio in the coming months.
The menu is extensive, beginning with a wide variety of classic and innovative soups ($2 to $12), like a kimchi bouillabaisse and lobster miso ramen; healthy salads ($3 to $13) topped with Peking duck, seared tuna and steak with green papaya; and raw bar and cold seafood dishes ($6 to $15.) Bao buns with smoked Peking duck or boneless pork ribs are popular hot appetizers ($4.50 to $10), along with Table 570's take on crab rangoon: a warm dip of cream cheese, crab, green onion and melted cheese, served with wonton crisps.
A full menu of sushi features traditional sashimi and hand rolls, along with artful specialty house rolls ($12 to $20) with lobster, king crab and rock shrimp tempura. The eponymous Table 570 roll is constructed with tempura fried oysters, peppadew peppers, avocado and cucumber, topped with thinly sliced Kobe beef.
Table 570 retains plenty of classic preparations ($10 to $16) like General Tso, sesame and kung pao — "You can't take away from that," Chen says — along with noodle and rice dishes and Japanese and Thai-style curries. There's a section of vegetarian and vegan options ($9 to $11), including vegetable fried quinoa and organic buckwheat noodles with vegetables, and the menu features many gluten-free dishes.
Chef Fortin, who now splits kitchen time between Granby and Simsbury, says Table 570's fusion dishes ($18 to $30) have been well-received, including jumbo shrimp with a Vietnamese-style rice crepe, pan-seared Chilean sea bass with tropical fruits and Himalayan red rice, and sea scallops with shiso chimichurri. Other entrees ($15 to $20) feature meats and seafood smoked in house, like French-cut chicken breast with togarashi potatoes, Peking duck breast with farro and blood orange chili sauce, and lemon grass-brined salmon with lychee honey mustard glaze.
While fusion cuisine was popular in the '90s, Fortin thinks it's better executed now, especially because Asian flavors and products are more common on menus now.
"The talent pool of chefs, who can actually implement it into their menu, is better," he says. "I don't think anybody knew how to use those ingredients back then and actually make it more accommodating for the stereotypical American who didn't know, or wasn't familiar, with those ingredients."
The bar features martinis and specialty drinks with familiar Asian flavors, but with twists —a lychee "beltini" with soju, lychee liqueur and prosecco; a "Cambodian mule" with makrut lime vodka and coconut sake and the "Year of the Monkey," a rye-based cocktail with star anise ginger syrup and yuzu. Happy hour runs daily from 3 to 6 p.m. with appetizers and sushi rolls priced at $1.50 to $5, $3.50 select beers and $5 wines and cocktails.
Chen tapped beverage director Matt Blumenfeld to introduce an extensive sake program to Table 570's bar, with about a dozen varieties available by the glass. The restaurant will host a sake dinner Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m., pairing five courses like spiced beef carpaccio, pork bao buns, striped bass and coconut rice pudding with five sakes. (Cost is $60 plus tax and gratuity.)
Table 570 Asian Fusion, 570 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury, is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 9:30 p.m. 860-651-4888, table570asianfusion.com.