Kenta Goto, who was responsible for the attention-grabbing cocktails at the Pegu Club years ago, has returned to the cocktail scene with his first solo project Bar Goto, a Japanese snack and drinking den. His Lower East Side space is small, but handsome, with a dark wood bar, a large framed piece of fabric from his grandmother's kimono, and a sole white orchid plant.
Goto's drink list is heavily influenced by Japan. The umami mary mixes vodka with miso, shiitake, lemon, tomato, and clamato and the sakura martini, made with sake, gin, maraschino, and cherry blossom, nods to the springtime sakura or cherry blossom festival celebrated in Japan. Half of the small plates menu focuses on okonomiyaku, or savory Japanese pancakes, which the kitchen stuffs with traditional fillings like chicken and pork belly, as well as less customary options like cheddar and parmesan for an okonomiyaki grilled cheese. Miso wings and gobo fries round out the snacking options. Take a look around.