The unlimited drinks brunch market has been gaining momentum for years in New York City to the point where the combo restaurant/lounges are different if they don’t offer a brunch during the weekends. I asked a trusted friend who does frequent brunches with his group to recommend me a location to kick back with some food and unlimited drinks and his top recommendation overall was Yotel. The atmosphere was good, the food came quickly, but that’s about where the buck stops for Yotel’s brunch. Just to be clear this was written from going out to Yotel on a warm October day.
As you already know, Yotel is a hotel located in Hell’s Kitchen just off of Time’s Square in the heart of the city. Yotel is more than that single location, it’s actually an international budget brand of hotels with small Japanese capsule style rooms set at 170 sq ft per… very small! In April of 2014, “East & West” opened at Yotel, a combo restaurant/lounge with a menu designed to highlight both eastern and western cuisines. The brunch is held between both “The Dojo”, an interior traditional restaurant style area with a dance floor and a massive outdoor seating area known as “The Terrace”. There are multiple bars serving up traditional drinks for sale as well as the more typical carafes of white and red sangria, bloody marys and mimosas found in the typical all you can drink brunch. The inside features normal seating arrangements with the DJ’s set up as well as the dance floor as mentioned before. Outdoor seating is both standard tables and longer picnic style tables.
As stated above, the focus of the menu is both eastern and western cuisine, though it still leaves a lot to be desired. It’s an all you can eat and drink brunch, so the central theme is moreso on food that can be produced quickly and effectively. Nothing jumps out as something that you’d be dying to try before you got there.
My group started the day with carafes of white sangria and mimosas, both delicious and effective. The major complaint from our group was how slowly the drinks are supposed to be delivered to the tables, every 30 minutes. We ended up greasing the waiter to be able to get them out a little faster. By the time the brunch was over for us, we felt excellent.
The food came out quickly and looked great as far as presentation. We rotated through many of the dishes, we started with both sets of scrambled eggs, the candied bacon, french toast and sushi rolls. It was easy to judge the food by what we ordered more of. The oxaca cheese and scallion scrambled eggs were very good, the chorizo and tomato eggs saw minimal action, bacon is bacon and was of course demolished quickly, the sushi was actually pretty good and I munched on that most of all. We followed up with meatballs, disco fries, crab rangoon spring rolls and sliders. The fries were actually very good, I was nervous they were going to be drowned in gravy like most disco fries but the distribution was fine. Our waiter recommended maple syrup with the spring rolls, great call, the combo of the syrup and spring roll went really well. No dish made me take pause and really notice how good it was, the food was mostly in the average level with the crab rangoon and fries coming out as the best two dishes.
The “East & West” brunch at Yotel’s Dojo was fun for sure. A party atmosphere with a DJ, dance floor, and a few other attractions to accompany an all you can eat and drink menu. While it was a good time, the food was barely above average. Nothing really took over for me, and ultimately all of the food was pretty forgettable. Go for the drinks, stay for the party, the food is cool to keep you from getting totally wasted.
Have you eaten at Yotel? If so, do you agree or disagree with what I said? Let me know, leave a comment!
Yotel Brunch Review reviewed by Well Fed on December 5, 2014 rated 3.5 of 5