I’m always on the hunt for the next best cocktail bars in the city. NYC has no shortage of great cocktail bars where the bartenders really know what they’re doing. Bar Goto from owner Kenta Goto, who formerly worked at the famed Pegu Club, has been regarded as one of the best new cocktail bars in Manhattan and for good reasons. The cocktail here has the artisanal feel to it, showcasing creativity and dedication to craftsmanship that you would normally expect from an experienced mixologist in Tokyo. It was the food, however, that later got my attention and I figured I would just visit this place for a full meal to go along with the cocktails.
The food at Bar Goto isn’t really for a full meal in terms of portion, but consists of a collection of shareable bar snacks and plates. That didn’t stop people from raving about their famed chicken wings with black sesame, scallions and house spicy miso sauce on top. I had very high expectations for the wings and they mostly delivered even though my dining companion was slightly turned off by the strong flavor of miso sauce. The wings were not quite meaty, but I felt the richness of the miso sauce with spicy kick more than made up for it. It had a very addictive quality to it that by the time I realized we were killing the entire bucket in like 10 minutes, it was too late. Combine the wing with kombu celery that will be a perfect complement with the way it neutralizes the spicy sensation of the wing.
Bar Goto has a number of okonomi-yaki (savory cabbage pancakes) options with different ingredients and I liked both that we ordered; both were pretty to look at and had the depth of flavor and texture that I hadn’t quite experienced in other okonomi-yaki dishes. I slightly preferred the carnivore plate with chicken, pork belly and smoked bacon over the fisherman’s with squid, sakura shrimp, rock shrimp, kombu and nori as I thought the ingredients came together with a little bit more balance and consistency in the former. Anyways, two okonomi-yaki plates will suffice plenty for a meal of two persons, and we nearly finished both with much satisfaction.
There is no reservation accepted at Bar Goto, which uses awesome lightings to great effect to create a very chic atmosphere perfect for a date night, and the smart idea is always to show up early and get out early. The place does become way too clubby and crowded past 7-8 p.m. As noted above, you should definitely try some of their cocktails, such as the sakura martini or the improved shochu cocktail that is served in a cedar drinking box with the bar’s logo inside. If you’re looking for a casual drinking night with some snacks to nibble on, Bar Goto should really be on your list of go-to options. Just don’t get stuck too late when things can get really loud and you may have to scream from the bottom of your lungs to get your points across.
- Creativity: 8.0/10
- Execution: 8.0/10
- Ingredients: 7.5/10
- Flavor: 8.5/10
- Texture: 7.5/10
Address: 245 Eldridge Street, New York, NY 10002
Telephone: (212) 475-4411