BY STEPHANIE AMY COLLAZO
The simple yet modern décor of Yotel sparked my interest long before I knew I would be making a visit to its restaurant. Having passed by the hotel a few times the neon purple sign reading “YOTEL” and the luggage robot quickly caught my attention.
When entering Yotel, you are approached by a group of men in grey jackets who ask whether you are checking in or going upstairs, once I told them I was going to FOUR one of the men pressed the button for the elevator and told me that when I got to the fourth floor I would be there, hence the restaurant’s name.
Exiting the elevator I noticed that the staff and the hotel followed the same color scheme of plum, grey and white. At first I thought it was a bit odd but when I realized that the staff didn’t have a uniform and were only required to wear within the color scheme I was amazed at how many different outfits they had put together using those three colors.
We were seated at the bar for cocktails while we waited for the tables to be set. The first cocktail we tried was the strawberry lychee mojito ($13) off of their signature cocktail list. The description said that the mojito consisted of rum, strawberry, lychee, mint and citrus, but all I was getting was strawberry and tequila. Now I am not saying that they put tequila in the mojito, which is not typically in a mojito, but the drink was pretty strong and tasted like tequila. I was a bit disappointed since I was looking forward to tasting the lychee and strawberry.
Shortly after finishing our cocktails we were asked where we wanted to be seated. We had a choice between booth and Dohyo seating. Though the Dohyo seating looked comfortable and would have enhanced the experience we opted for the booth seating since we were both in dresses and didn’t want to accidentally flash the restaurant.
The waiter quickly approached us to take our orders. He suggested the mango-ginger martini ($13), and I went for it. My guest decided not to get her next drink just yet. The mango-ginger martini consisted of vodka, mango, ginger liqueur and St Germain liqueur. It was delicious! The ginger flavor really stood out and there wasn’t a terrible vodka sting at the end.
The first course at Chef Richard Sandoval’s new venture with Yotel was a sampling of the chili dusted tuna salad ($9). The tuna salad was presented on top of purple potato with potato straws on top. This course was one of my top three favorite dishes of the evening. The light dusting of chili made it spicy and though I would have never thought to pair the two the raw tuna and purple potato tasted very good together.
The second course was pozole miso soup ($6). This was unlike any miso soup I had had before. I am accustom to a much more simple version of the soup consisting solely of tofu, seaweed and miso. The pozole miso soup consisted of tofu, chili guajillo, wakame seaweed and cilantro and was both visually pleasing and hearty.
Next was my absolute favorite dish of the night: the crunchy shrimp ($8). The shrimp were the star attraction as far as my guest and myself were concerned. We couldn’t stop raving about the its amazing flavor and crunch. They were crunchy without a think layer of batter and had just the lightest hint of spice.
Our fourth course was a halibut slider ($9). This dish was nice and light and the chili morita-remoulade sauce was quite flavorful. After the halibut, we had black cod with pickled artichoke ($14). This was a sour and sweet combination that I didn’t see coming. I enjoyed the pickled artichoke but the teriyaki-balsamic reduction made the cod too sweet for my taste.
Our sixth and seventh course came out at the same time. First we tried the Chinese eggplant ($6), which consisted of miso, tomato, red chile and mint. I am not a fan of eggplant to begin with so I was not a fan of this course. Next we tried the Colorado lamb leg ($10). The lamb had a cucumber-yogurt sauce and was served on top of potatoes. The meat was very moist and I had to use my fork to eat it rather then the chopsticks we had been using to eat everything else. My guest who is normally not a fan of lamb ate more than half of her serving.
Our final course was the dessert course, which featured a sampling of the three desserts on the menu. We first tried the yuzu strawberry tart ($7). The lemongrass sorbet had a very strong lemon flavor, which tasted more like lemon zest, but not in a negative way. Next we had the hummingbird toffee cake ($7). The cake was moist and flavorful. It was made of banana and pineapple and came with sweet anise ice cream. The last dessert we tried was the chocolate cheesecake ($7). The cheesecake was not too heavy and paired nicely with the blackberry sauce and chocolate crunch candies.
Due to weather constraints we couldn’t go out on the terrace but I am sure that it would be a great venue for cocktails with friends.
All in all, Yotel has something for everyone. Its drink list alone is enough to draw the young and trendy, while the menu and location will attract the older, possibly after theater, dinner crowd, and the offerings and view from the terrace will make them all stay.