Kin Gin Is a Must-Visit Modern Japanese Izakaya in NYC’s Lower East Side

Set the scene.

From Japan’s neon-glowing metropolis to New York’s ‘City that Never Sleeps’ reputation, Tokyo and NYC share striking parallels as cosmopolitan playgrounds, attracting wanderers and daydreamers alike with their unyielding energy and maze of endless opportunities. This cultural intersection manifests in an unassuming restaurant in Downtown Manhattan.

Credit: Noah Fecks

Kin Gin, a newly opened modern Japanese Izakaya in the Lower East Side, is a stark departure from the neighborhood’s graffiti-clad storefronts. Located on Rivington Street, it welcomes guests with a sleek 12-seat marble cocktail bar leading into a spacious glass atrium dining room. The interior boasts a captivating mid-century aesthetic, blending airy elements with rich textures—deep navy blues, burgundy, and brown oak hues complemented by brass and gold fixtures. The centerpiece is a striking viola marble fireplace, illuminated by spherical bulb chandeliers, surrounded by plush velvet banquettes, creating an elegant ambiance.

Credit: Noah Fecks

Let’s start with the drinks.

With its name translating to ‘gold and silver,’ Kin Gin shines with a standout cocktail program that alone merits a visit. TableOne Hospitality’s Beverage Director, Phil Collins, has curated an ultra-modern mixology experience, highlighting a specially selected gin collection—the ‘Global G&Ts’ highlight gin and tonic combinations inspired by flavors from around the world. Try the Japan with Etsu Yuzu Gin & Yuzu Tonic, infused with shiso, makrut lime, cardamom, and mint; the London, crafted with Ford’s Gin, cucumber tonic, lime, mint, and cucumber; or the New York, stirred with Brooklyn Gin & Elderflower Tonic, complemented by sage, lemon peel, star anise, and apple blossom. Each drink offers distinct flavors yet shares a refreshing zing.

Credit: Noah Fecks

As gin enthusiasts ourselves, we couldn’t resist taste-testing their gin-and-tonic-centric libations. Plus, there’s a comprehensive collection of sakes to explore, including two new exclusive bottles—Gasanyru and Kurouzaemon—brewed in small batches by the 148-year-old Shindo Sake Brewery in Yamagata, Japan. However, on our next visit, we look forward to trying the Spirit of Mushin signature elixir—an inventive twist on a dirty martini mixing two types of gin, sesame-washed shochu, fino sherry, and olive brine.

Credit: Noah Fecks

What can we expect from the food?

The food menu at Kin Gin showcases five traditional Japanese techniques used to create artistically plated dishes: nama (cutting), niru (simmering), yaku (grilling), musu (steaming), and ageru (deep-frying). 

From the raw bar, the daily flown-in seafood selection tastes as fresh as if it were just pulled from the ocean and expertly cleaned. One standout dish we savored was the Kanpachi Sashimi—a fan favorite featuring amberjack from Kona, Hawaii, complemented by lemon shallots and a blood orange sauce, topped with thinly sliced blood oranges for a delightful sweet zest. Pairing this with the highly-recommended Chicken Kara-Age—spicy and crunchy Japanese fried chicken served with a lemon curry froth—and the Shinjyuku Gyoza—steamed with pork, shrimp, and kimchi, immersed in a delectable kara miso sauce—creates the perfect start to a memorable meal.

Credit: Noah Fecks

Perhaps the best but most controversial dish among dinner guests for being ‘too fatty’ is the Zuku Tontoro: a roasted miso-cured pork jowl that’s thinly sliced and garnished with roasted peanuts, pickled daikon, and a miso glaze drizzled on top. ‘It’s basically straight guanciale: pre-cured and tenderized before it becomes pancetta,’ our waiter explained. It’s unbelievably juicy and delicious, and if you ask us, not too fatty in the slightest.

Any last words?

From the elevated design to the superb cocktail program, Kin Gin transports you straight to a restaurant in Tokyo. It’s a new favorite we’ll be recommending to everyone. Oh, and we forgot to mention it’s located below one of the Lower East Side’s chicest new boutique hotels, Hotel Rivington, and next to one of our favorite quintessential speakeasy-style cocktail lounges, Tigre.

Top Takeaways

Location: Lower East Side, New York City

Address: 107 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

Cuisine: Japanese

Price Point: $

Takes Reservations: Yes – Resy

The vibe: A modern Japanese izakaya with an upscale atmosphere in the heart of New York City’s eclectic Lower East Side.

Our favorite thing on the menu: The Zuku Tontoro roasted pork jowl stole the show for us.

The attire: Smart Casual

Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner: Kin Gin is open for dinner on Tuesday & Wednesday from 5 pm to 10 pm and Thursday through Sunday from 5 pm to 11 pm.

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