Have you ever wondered what it's like to have brunch inside a computer? Or a European airport?? That's kind of how I felt Sunday when I went to a brunch tasting at FOUR at Yotel, a new restaurant/hotel in Times Square. Aside from the fact that every time I said "Yotel Hotel" it made me think of "Yertle the Turtle", I didn't really know what to make of this place; it's very futuristic and very "digital". People have been replaced by electronic kiosks and robotic arms that will store your luggage (really), but I was there for the food, which I was hoping was normal and not freeze-dried or made into pellets.
The roofdeck at FOUR at Yotel is actually quite nice (it's called FOUR because it's on the fourth floor). Spacious, clean, with large cabanas and two big bars that can mix you a cocktail while you wait for your food. And fortunately those drinks are big because you might be waiting a while. The Brunch deal is actually really awesome, but the service was severely lacking. $35 gets you unlimited cocktails AND small plates of the asian-fusion kind. This is New York City and rarely do you see unlimited booze AND food, so I was pretty excited yet expected the food and/or drinks to be awful; happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised with most of the dishes. On the flipside, the service was slow and forgetful, but they were friendly as ever which made it hard to hate them. They might bring you three extra orders of meatballs and forget your knives and drinks twice, but they'll do it with a smile, damn it!
You would think you'd only have like, 5 plates to choose from in a menu of the unlimited variety, but really the options were plentiful. I think we tried most of them, but left without trying any of the sushi rolls because they forgot to bring them out. Sigh..
Unless you're a vegetarian, you will enjoy the Bacon Fried Rice. I mean, how can you not? It comes with thick pieces of bacon and a fried egg on top that you can break and mix in. Done. I personally think the egg should be a little softer-cooked or even poached, because the fried edges were hard to break and mix in. Still…tasty as all hell.
The tenderloin benedict is impossible to eat without a knife. How do I know this? Because I tried to do that. At one point I considered picking it up with my hands and gnawing on it like a hungry lion, but I told myself to wait and be civil. I'm a LADY, after all. Didn't stop me from licking the spicy hollandaise off my fingers though – it was creamy and delicious. The steak was actually cooked well too; considering it took a while to get a knife, I poked at it and was able to pull a piece apart using just a fork. Read: nice and tender.
I don't know how Tostones (fried plantains) fit into the menu here, but they definitely work. They were fresh out of the fryer, crispy outside, mildly sweet and creamy inside. The antithesis to the pineapple french toast, which was dry, cakey and too sweet. I love french toast and I don't eat it often, so when I do, I like it to be GOOD. Kind of disappointing.
Crab Wontons. Not exactly a brunch staple, but in Yotel, they definitely should be. I am used to eating these from greasy takeout places and really haven't had them in a while because well, they're horrible for you, but oh well. Imagine a mini spring roll stuffed with crab meat, cream cheese, and some form of green vegetable (maybe spinach) and deep fried. Mmm. Served with a scallion-soy dipping sauce, these were a nice combo of savory and tangy, albeit a bit too small..
Here's two polar opposite dishes, and one of them you should avoid. The wild mushroom omelette with goat cheese and asparagus was underwhelming and a little rubbery. This is brunch. Eggs should be on point, no excuses. The house-made meatballs were Thai/Malaysian-inspired and delicious; the sauce was lightly perfumed with kaffir limes, and they were soft but not squishy. Good thing we enjoyed them because we got three orders of them (even though we only ordered one).
As I mentioned earlier, we missed out on some of the sushi rolls, but I heard from other diners that they were good but nothing out of the ordinary. I'm hoping this was just a fluke and they were disoriented from the high winds that day, because it's a great deal and the food was pretty good. If FOUR at Yotel can hire some more competent servers, I think they'd have a decent brunch business on hand. I'd definitely give it another shot in the outdoor space before it gets too cold out, because the interior is ok but looks a little like a futuristic cafeteria. However, it was where I met my new boyfriend..
FOUR at Yotel
570 10th ave at 42nd st, 4th Fl