I was digging through some of my old files, and I came across this piece. I wrote it, but for whatever reason, it went unpublished. Perhaps “better late than never” would apply here. The timeline for this piece was the the first week of August, so keep that in mind when reading lines that describe warm weather and sunshine.
All seemed to be going well when Brunch began, despite the fact that two of my four guests were fashionably late. The weather was gorgeous; sunny and in the low 80’s, not humid in the least bit, which only enhanced the view of the clear New York City sky from The Terrace at the Yotel Hotel that afternoon. Avid NYC brunch goers may remember this restaurant being called Dojo, before being slightly updated and re-opened as The Terrace for the last few weeks.
We were sat immediately at a table that gave us the ability to “people watch” along the entire length of the terrace we sat on.
The hostess explained how the brunch menu worked, offering unlimited cocktails and three choices from the “small plates” category, for $45/person, and then left us to study and choose our boozy libations and plates of goodies…it was somewhat of a bumpy ride from here.
The first (and somewhat continuous) obstacle was getting the attention of our server, let alone any server, for that matter. I don’t know if they were just unable to hear us trying to get their attention over the music, or if they had serious tunnel vision while walking up and down the service path, or perhaps they were unable to keep a pulse on the amount of time between visits. A server finally approached us nearly 15 minutes after being seated, and we ordered drinks, as well as our choices for the small plates. The drinks arrived soon after, and we enjoyed them…followed by another round, and then another…having to flag down a server each time.
Three rounds and 45 minutes later, our first courses had not yet arrived. We were able to get the attention of the server, who may or may not have known the food was delayed as he interrupted with “I just checked with the kitchen, it’s almost ready” as a table mate was looking for a status report on our plates, as guests that came in after us were already getting served and enjoying. Ten minutes later, our food still didn’t arrive, but a manager did, apologizing for the delay, and said he would remove a portion of the bill for the inconvenience, which was a pleasant surprise.
The rest of the courses arrived in a timely manner, but I noticed what I thought to be temperature issues (keeping hot foods hot, and cold foods cold) in two out of my three plates. My first course was the Peach Bourbon French Toast. Although it was tasty, it was lukewarm. The same thing happened with my second course, the calamari in a Teriyaki glaze. After this, I decided that I might want to bring this to a server’s attention, as this didn’t seem “HACCP” or easy to eat, in my opinion. The flavor of the batter or the sauce didn’t suffer, but since the calamari was cool, it made it a bit more difficult to break down and chew. The server explained that this item wasn’t meant to be served hot out of the fryer, but room temperature, as I had received it. I have never seen room temperature fried calamari before, and I never hope to again. It wasn’t pleasant to chew at all, nor was it even remotely “food safe.” I didn’t even want to finish it. My third course, the Cubano sliders were nice and hot, the cheese was ooey and gooey, but I think this dish would have been more appropriately named Cordon Bleu slider because of the ingredients. The other three guests were satisfied with their meals, including portions, temperatures, and flavors, except for one, who claimed he was still hungry and that portions were small, but I can’t say I took this to heart, as this particular guest makes the same complaint about nearly every place that isn’t an “all you can eat” type establishment.
Overall, I wasn’t wowed. Although the views and the presentation of the food was beautiful, it wasn’t enough. Maybe this was just an isolated incident and I was just the “lucky” one? Perhaps they’re still working out the kinks since the re-open? I adored Dojo and enjoyed coming back every time. However, after this experience, I’ll let The Terrace have some time to develop and perfect their routine before I come back for the next time.
The Terrace at Yotel Hotel
570 10th Ave (Between 41st & 42nd Street) New York, NY 10036