Located atop a flight of stairs, Village Yokocho is constantly buzzing with customers looking for a Japanese restaurant that, refreshingly, doesn’t revolve their menu around sushi. Open late night, it’s pretty much the perfect place for anyone with Japanese munchies that just wants to try some of everything.
Tapas are the way to go here. Fried squid legs (recommended by a waiter as the most popular dish) are on point and insanely addicting, especially with the mayonnaise. Mekabu natto (fermented soybeans with seaweed) and ohitashi (boiled spinach salad) are good go-to sides if you want something different. I practically inhale the spicy tuna bowl whenever I’m here, and it never disappoints.
After you eat that much food, the next logical step is to wash it down with a drink, and if you’re going to do that, then…why not do it at a secret bar? A secret bar IN the restaurant you’re already at? I’ll leave you to find the door yourself, but once you find it, stepping into Angel’s Share makes you feel like you have to put your classy pants on. I mean that in a good way.
Practically the polar opposite of Yokocho, there is no standing, no parties of more than four, no yelling. It looks like the kind of cocktail bar where you half expect people to be whipping out pocket watches or cigarette holders. It’s not at all snobby though, rather, cozy and intimate.
A carefully curated list of delicious cocktails (about $15 each) is accompanied with personal anecdotes by bar manager Shingo Gokan, winner of the 2012 Bacardi Global Legacy Cocktail Competition (so you know he’s legit). His prized cocktail “Speak Low,” a combination of rum, sherry, yuzu zest, and matcha, is a tribute to the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. It’s different, unexpected, delicious.
Gokan truly cares about each drink and each customer, and it shows – he states that his favorite part about his job is creating a drink that the customer will love, and watching them enjoy his creation. I can’t really imagine these words coming out of the mouths of the majority of NYC bartenders I’ve encountered.
I would definitely recommend hitting up both spots for a date night or if you just want to experience the juxtaposition of stuffing your face with Japanese food and ending the night on a classy note.
Village Yokocho/Angel’s Share
8 Stuyvesant St
(between 3rd Ave & 10th St)
New York, NY 10003