Downtown Brooklyn has received a new neighborhood gem. No...it's not another Starbucks. It's actually New York City's first Asian rooftop beer garden. I was invited to Kimoto Rooftop on a whim for happy hour after work one day, and I went back within a week with another group of friends for a follow-up visit. That's how much I like this place.
Located atop of the Aloft Hotel on Duffield Street, this dope indoor-outdoor spot is accessible via one elevator, barricaded by a velvet rope, in which guests are personally escorted directly to the restaurant. When the elevator door opens on the top floor, you are met by a view of a nicely-sized bar and the Brooklyn skyline. You are able to grab a seat in the bar area, or have the host escort you to a table on the terrace where you can take in the view, enjoy some great music (there's a live DJ), and most of all, enjoy the food and drinks. Their landscape view of the city's beautiful sunsets is sure to provide an excellent rooftop atmosphere all year round.
What is more appealing, other than the decor and scenery, is the vibe and atmosphere set by the staff and management. In speaking with David Santana the Assistant General Manager, I could see that the management desires to create an environment that fosters a "just chill and enjoy yourself" type of vibe. They want you to fully enjoy their unique menu and not feel rushed to pay your tab and leave. It seemed to be more of an experience, than a happy hour.
So let's get to the food and drink! My two favorite dishes, hands down are the bulgogi beef tacos and the spicy wings. The tacos are made with marinated thin slices of beef, and topped with kimchi and Asian pear. What makes them so unique is that they are incased in an actual wonton shell instead of the typical tortilla. The spicy wings are covered in an amazing gochujang bbq glaze and are palatable even for those who do not consider themselves and adventurous eater. What is also important to mention is the Salmon Crudo. This came highly recommended by David and it did not disappoint. The sushi-like dish includes tasty salmon, mixed with garlic aioli, cilantro and lime zest atop a thinly sliced carrot. I would suggest ordering at least 2-3 appetizers for the table. Variety is the spice of life!
My go-to drink at Kimoto is typically their happy hour margarita, however, I did have the chance to try a couple more cocktails. Danger, the head bartender, introduced my friends and I to the Kimoto and the Tranquility cocktails. The Kimoto is Danger's take on the classic whiskey sour. It's made with four roses bourbon, rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon, orange, maple and an egg white for a frothy topping. The drink was extremely smooth! Tranquility was a bit more eclectic but light and refreshing, nonetheless. If nothing else, it's a great drink to look at, made with lemongrass and vietnamese black pepper infused bombay sapphire east, along with king's ginger, lavender honey and a few other ingredients. In addition to the cocktail menu, be sure to check out their 20 craft beers which include microbrews from Japan.
Aside from a couple neighborhood dive bars, Downtown Brooklyn doesn't seem to have many upscale options to partake in. Yes, dive bars serve their purpose, but when I have guests in town, it'd be great to take them to an elegant place like Kimoto Rooftop. They are definitely welcomed!
But, what's going to happen to the rooftop portion when NYC's signature cold temperatures arrive? Well, Kimoto was perfectly created to give you a year-round rooftop feel. Their wooden panels and tables, 300 sublime zen plants, heat lamps and transparent awning will assure that guests get the full rooftop experience no matter what season the city is in.