Katana Kitten’s ‘director of deliciousness’ Masahiro Urushido is an icon. Yet his many awards – including North America’s 50 Best Bars Altos Bartenders’ Bartender 2022 – haven’t changed his devotion to hospitality. Guests are greeted warmly as they descend from the New York City streets into his underground, Japanese dive bar. Inside, guests are instantly immersed in an authentically ’80s party. Drawing from Asian influences, highballs such as the Slowpitch Paloma (tequila, Pocari Sweat, Thai chili, lime zest) headline the menu. Co-starring are Japanese riffs on classics such as the signature Hinoki Martini (vodka, gin, fino sherry, junmai daiginjo and hinoki tree essence).
The culinary side also adheres to izakaya roots. The humble chicken sandwich is conjured in a spectacular Fujimi Crispy Chicken Sando (soy-garlic and sake marinade, scallions, sour cucumber, spicy mayo and milk bread). Light bites such as Giant Head On Blue Prawn (shrimp-soy bean paste marinade, pickled daikon, sesame) are worth the trip alone.