After nearly a decade entertaining thirsty patrons at some of the city’s swankiest and most-esteemed watering holes, barman Kenta Goto has finally struck out on his own. Years in the making, Bar Goto(245 Eldridge Street, 212-475-4411) showcases its owner’s talents with a selection of expressive and elegant cocktails. He infuses vodka with mushrooms for Bloody Marys and riffs on the Tom Collins using Calpico, a Japanese milk soda. Chef Kiyo Shinoki oversees the food menu, delivering lighter fare like yuzu-pepper pickles and celery treated with seaweed and sesame, as well as more recognizable bar fare including burdock root fries and miso-hot sauce chicken wings.
Chief among the kitchen’s offerings are Shinoki’s okonomiyaki, savory Japanese pancakes made with grated yam and cabbage and delivered in rectangular cast-iron skillets. The five highbrow flapjacks served here come in winning combinations like mushrooms and leeks, and chicken and pork belly. And while you can indulge in classic Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, griddled with a layer of yakisoba noodles in the batter (along with a satisfying mix of pork belly and rock shrimp), don’t miss out on the “Fisherman” and “Grilled Cheese” versions. The former adds an oceanic feast of octopus, calamari, and shrimp, while the latter melts together cheddar, Parmesan, and gruyere with lush, piquant sun-dried tomatoes.
Every pancake gets doused in Kewpie mayonnaise and tangy Worcestershire-like okonomiyaki sauce, and arrive with bowls of shaved bonito flakes and diced pickles meant for scattering across the top. It all amounts to some of the city’s most refined bar food and best drunk munchies; the pancakes simultaneously crisp, fluffy, and dense with hearty flavors.
In honor of our Best of New York City issue (available now!), the Village Voice has been combing the city every day, one dish at a time, to guide you to the most delicious food in NYC. These are our 100 Favorite Dishes for 2015, in no particular order, save for the top 10. To read about previous dishes, browse our 100 Favorite Dishes page.