Kenta Goto of Pegu Club

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  • Photograph: Dale May

    Kenta Goto

    Kenta Goto

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Kenta Goto making a gin-gin mule at Pegu Club

    Kenta Goto making a gin-gin mule at Pegu Club

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Kenta Goto making a gin-gin mule at Pegu Club

    Kenta Goto making a gin-gin mule at Pegu Club

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Kenta Goto making a gin-gin mule at Pegu Club

    Kenta Goto making a gin-gin mule at Pegu Club

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Kenta Goto making a gin-gin mule at Pegu Club

    Kenta Goto making a gin-gin mule at Pegu Club

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Gin-gin mule at Pegu Club

    Gin-gin mule at Pegu Club

  • Pegu Club cocktail at Pega Club

    Pegu Club cocktail at Pega Club

  • Pegu Club

    Pegu Club

Photograph: Dale May

Kenta Goto

Kenta Goto

The talent: Kenta Goto

Where to find him: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at Pegu Club (77 W Houston St between West Broadway and Wooster St; 212-473-7348, peguclub.com)

Why you'll dig him: In an industry full of inflated egos, Goto's understated style doesn't court attention, but his fluidity (on view at Pegu Club, where he's been a fixture for nearly five years) is definitely deserving. Born in Tokyo, he's a thoughtful ambassador for the Japanese cocktail tradition, drawing on its strengths (craftsmanship, hospitality) while fully embracing NYC's boundary-pushing spirit. He's contributed some inspired East-meets-West creations to the Pegu menu over the years—including a surprising blend of Calpis (a Japanese lactic drink), fresh cantaloupe juice and gin—and even his signature shake is a hypnotizing international hybrid.

He says: "In Tokyo, you use creativity to stay inside the box and try to make the perfect gin martini, or the perfect sidecar. Here you can use creativity to take classics and add modern twists to them."

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