Chef Richard Sandoval, whose properties include Zengo, Pampano and El Centro, joined forces with the futuristic British hotel chain Yotel to launch a new multi-faceted concept in the hospitality brand’s New York City location, and I got the chance to preview the venue before its grand opening this week. Occupying the fourth floor of the hotel, Four comprises DohYo Restaurant, the outdoor Terrace and the Club Lounge. The entire space is dominated by sleek, white décor with Yotel’s signature purple accents, and the food and cocktails combine global flavors with a focus on Latin and Asian cuisine.
My friend Christina and I started on the Terrace, which features gorgeous views of the city, especially when the setting sun casts pink and orange hues across the western sky. I tried the Strawberry-Lychee Mojito, made with light rum, fresh strawberry purée, fresh lychee juice, and muddled lime and mint. The drink had a bright taste and a good balance of sweet and tart.
Christina chose the Blueberry-Shiso Caipirinha, mixing cachaça, fresh blueberry purée, torn shiso leaves and lime wedges muddled with raw brown sugar. The smoky spirit and aromatic herb complemented the cocktail’s fruity flavor.
Then we moved inside to sample a series of small plates from DohYo’s menu. The restaurant features Japanese-style seating at long, communal tables in the center, with tables and chairs encompassing the perimeter. The first item to arrive was the Seared Tuna Causa, which plays on the traditional Peruvian dish. A spicy mix of chopped fish, shallot, cilantro, capers and hard-boiled egg topped a mound of mashed purple potato that looked like Play-Doh, but tasted great.
Next, we got the Pozole Miso Soup, a take on the Columbian stew with a Japanese twist. The savory broth contained puréed tofu, salty seaweed, mildly hot gaujillo chili and starchy hominy kernals. The shredded red cabbage gave it extra texture and freshness.
The soup was followed by the Crunchy Shrimp, a spicy appetizer of tiny prawns doused in a lemon sake aïoli and sprinkled with sesame seeds, scallion and masago. It’s perfect bar food elevated to Sandoval elegance.
At this point, we were ready for another round of drinks. Christina ordered the Mango-Ginger Martini, blending vodka, mango purée, elderflower liqueur and muddled ginger. The mango flavor overpowered the subtle ginger, but it was a tasty cocktail nonetheless.
I opted for the Spicy Pepino Margarita, made with silver Tequila, sliced cucumber, serrano-citrus sour mix and pequin chili salt. The vegetal drink served as a refreshing palate cleanser.
The parade of plates continued with the Halibut Slider, which featured a piece of light yet firm fish topped with a breaded, fried tomato and a morita chili rémoulade sauce, served on a buttery bun. The sandwich is a less-greasy alternative to the usual ground-beef version.
The Black Cod was drizzled with a teriyaki-balsamic reduction and paired with briny pickled artichokes. Cooked to perfection, the delicate, flaky fish melted in my mouth.
Arriving at the same time as the cod, the Chinese Eggplant nicely complemented the fish with its flavors of sweet miso, peppery red chili, fresh diced tomato and chopped mint.
The final course before dessert was the Colorado Lamb Leg, a pulled pile of slow-roasted lamb topped with a creamy cucumber yogurt, which added some much-needed moisture to the well-cooked meat. The accompanying roasted potatoes and caramelized onions rounded out the hearty dish.
We ended the meal with a trio of desserts: a tangy Yuzu Strawberry Tart with lemongrass sorbet and angel food cake; a smoky chipotle Chocolate Cheesecake with blackberries; and a warm Hummingbird Toffee Cake, made with pineapple and banana, topped with sweet anise ice cream. All three were delicious and not too rich.
Located near Times Square in Hell’s Kitchen, Four at Yotel will definitely attract its fair share of tourists, but the nightlife and dining aspects may appeal to Manhattan residents looking for a trendy, tropical escape in the city. The Terrace features private cabanas that come with bottles of vodka or Tequila and fresh juices for mixing. Beer is available in 2-liter growlers, and a selection of signature cocktails—including the Passion Plantation Punch, Peach & Bourbon Tea and Sake Sangria—can be ordered by the pitcher, making it easy to party in style.
© Amber Drea and New York Drinkie, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of images and text without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts may be used, provided that clear credit is given to Amber Drea and New York Drinkie with links directing to the original content.