photo by Paul Wagtouitz
Tokyo expat Kenta Goto, a longtime fixture behind the bar at Pegu Club, brings a taste of his hometown to this Lower East Side drinking den, his first solo project. The cocktails have a distinctly Asian flavor, employing ingredients like preserved cherry blossoms and Calpico with a deft hand; each is made even better by Goto’s insistence that the drinks be “plated” in vessels particular to each. The Improved Shochu Cocktail, amped up with hop liqueur and barrel-aged gin, comes in a small cypress sake box; the Far East Side, a riff on a mojito with sake, Tequila and shiso, is enhanced by a svelte Nick & Nora glass. To eat, five types of okonomiyaki—Japanese cabbage pancakes dressed with sweet ketchup-like sauce, Kewpie mayonnaise and shivering bonito flakes—and miso chicken wings make terrific excuses to order another round of drinks.