"When a sake-and-spirits temple with a Pegu Club–pedigreed barkeep lands on the Lower East Side, there’s no avoiding the chorus of cocktail-geek fanfare to follow. Yet take a seat at Kenta Goto’s glimmering black-and-gold boîte, lodged away from the Houston Street bedlam, and you’ll find the noisy hype storm is curtailed by cool poise, from the hostess’s graceful reception to silent servers weaving through tables.
Like the cocktails, the 30-seat space’s elegantly composed trappings are synonymous with Goto’s understated approach. The drinks maven charmed riveted guests on a recent night, but you don’t need to exchange a single word with him to be fully swayed by his boozy gospel."
"Few New York bars have emerged as strongly as this two-year-old Lower East Side cocktail den; even fewer have bypassed the typical growing pains and charged straight to greatness. That’s thanks not only to Goto’s well-honed skills and artful attention to detail—fortified over an acclaimed seven-year tenure at Audrey Saunders’s Pegu Club—but also to the solidification of the bar’s truly singular, hyperpersonal vision.
Goto’s Japanese-accented cocktails have transcended novelty and hit new-icon status. In any other spot, drinks this exemplary would be served with a side of haughtiness, but Goto & Co. operates with a near-selfless level of hospitality, a much-welcome appropriation of Japan’s omotenashi tradition. In fusing the best of classic cocktails with Japanese culture, Goto created a joint that’s, deservedly, the new big man on campus."