No Restaurants Allowed
I visit the city regularly, and my wife and I are looking for a good bar with a real bartender that serves good food at the bar. I do not want to be part of a restaurant. If it is part of a restaurant, I want it to be sufficiently separated so we can eat at the bar and have a good, quiet conversation. — Gary C.
I respect your conviction here, Gary, and I really think you’ll appreciate the experience at Bar Goto, on the Lower East Side. The Japanese-influenced cocktail program is serious — try a plum boulevardier, a fizzy sencha highball or explore the vast collection of Japanese whisky. The food menu is short, but elegant: kombu celery, pickled and torched mackerel, and okonomiyaki.
Though the bar and the dining area of Winona’s, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, share a single, cavernous room, they feel like two different spaces. The menu often changes (and regularly hosts guest chef pop-ups), but dinner at the bar with a carajillo or a martini is always a sure thing.
A Dirt-Inspired Dinner (Really)
I’m excited to revisit the Earth Room again after many years of it being closed — the smell is intoxicating. I think it would be fun to continue the dirt/earth theme after the visit into dinner. Can you recommend a place nearby (Soho, Little Italy, East Village, etc.) that might deepen that earthy experience? — Polly C.
Polly, thank you for one of the best reader questions this newsletter has ever received. I haven’t visited the New York Earth Room, Walter De Maria’s sculpture installation in SoHo, which opened in 1977, but I’ll do my best to channel the scent of its 22 inches of soil covering a 3,600-square-foot indoor area. A plate of mushrooms might evoke a similar earthiness: The truffle mushroom salad at Ye’s Apothecary, on the Lower East Side, includes enoki, clamshell and king oyster mushrooms, all laced with pungent truffle oil. While you’re at it, sip an on-theme cocktail — the Drunken Farmer is made with duck fat-washed Scotch, corn and chestnuts.