Yotel New York – Hotel Review

Yotel will open its New York City hotel this June
Yotel will open its New York City hotel this June

by Becky Sue Epstein

All things “Yo” come to Manhattan this June with the opening of New York City‘s first Yotel, just off Times Square. Founded by English business partners Simon Woodroffe and Gerard Greene in 2007, Yotel specializes in small, budget-priced rooms that have previously only been seen in European airports like London‘s Heathrow and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Inspired by Japanese capsule-style accommodations, Yotel has in the past been criticized for its cramped quarters and often noisy corridors. Given the quirky chain’s less-than-stellar reputation, I was expecting the worst when I went to a pre-opening reception for Yotel’s NYC outpost. Cringing, I entered the giant building a few blocks west of Port Authority. Despite the polite black-clad hosts, it was pretty stark, and made more so by a demonstration of Yobot, the large machine that grabs and stores luggage, on view behind a giant plate glass window which made it seem like we were in a factory.

However, up on the fourth floor, the space was more welcoming. First, there were more people, and second there was food — always a draw for me. This floor has several lounge, bar and restaurant areas, with various seating options, in an open, mid-century modern/Asian setting. Well-known chef Richard Sandoval (of the Zengo restaurant empire) offers fusion cuisine that includes European and New World, with a touch of Asian. Asia also influences the design of the items in the lobby shop kiosk floating near the elevators.

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Wolfgang Puck Iced Coffee

by Sophie Gayot

Among the many things über-chef Wolfgang Puck likes, there is coffee. His passion for the black drink led him to create a line of cold brewed iced coffees in 2009 with pastry chef Sherry Yard and Craig Lieberman, president of Woodway Beverage Partners.

The trio has developed four flavors: Vanilla Fusion, Double Blend Mocha, Crème Caramel and Café au Lait. Made with certified organic ingredients, they are prepared using a cold-brewing process that reduces the tannins and the bitter taste often found in hot-brewed drinks. The results are delicate flavors at only 120 calories for an 8.5-ounce bottle, while other brands are around 250. Watch my exclusive video with Wolfgang Puck talking about the drinks.

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A Love Affair with French Cuisine

by Sophie Gayot

If you have a love affair with French cuisine, it might as well as be in a restaurant that contains the word “Amour” (love) in its name. That is exactly what chef Walter Manzke is doing while consulting at Saint Amour restaurant, a brasserie in Culver City, Calif.

A California native, Manzke has circled around from the West Coast to Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo with Alain Ducasse, elBulli under Ferran Adrià, three restaurants in Carmel, Calif., to Patina, Bastide and Church & State in Los Angeles. When Saint Amour owner Florence Herve Commereuc called him to ask if he could come on board, Manzke responded “oui,” but he’s looking forward to eventually opening his own place in the City of the Angels. Watch my exclusive video interview with him, and read my just published review of the restaurant, and see why we put it on our list of the Top 10 Bistros in LA.

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Seasons Does Steak in San Francisco

Hearst Ranch filet with green peppercorn and Bourbon sauce
Hearst Ranch filet with green peppercorn and Bourbon sauce

by Tiffany Apczynski

In San Francisco, steakhouses are back! Once at risk of falling into obscurity, and with them, the surf and turf menu entry, modern steakhouses are now all the rage. GAYOT.com 2011 Best Restaurateur in the U.S. Michael Mina is behind the successful Bourbon Steak. Alexander’s Steakhouse offers tasting menus that can go as high as $390. 5A5 offers prime meat with a side order of weekend dance parties. These meat palaces have all breathed new life into this tried-and-true restaurant genre.

Joining its elite colleagues, Seasons, the swank restaurant situated on the fifth floor of the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco, has gone and revamped its longtime conventional menu to that of the “modern steakhouse.” What this really means is a versatile menu from executive chef Mark Richardson that is fit for steak lovers and everyone else. But, boy, does Richardson do amazing things with steak.

Each cut can be ordered with an impressive selection of sauces. For our little slice of a heavenly Hearst Ranch filet, we chose the green peppercorn and Bourbon sauce — but soon abandoned it in order to savor every bit of our naked steak’s gorgeous crust and utter tenderness.

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The 2011 French Open on Tennis Channel

by Sophie Gayot

Like last year, we have partnered with Tennis Channel to offer a taste of France to American fans of Roland Garros who can not make it to Paris. In New YorkWashington D.C., Atlanta, Miami, Phoenix and Los Angeles, we have selected the top ten French bistros/brasseries/restaurants to help celebrate Tennis Channel‘s round-the-clock coverage of the two-week French Open. Their high definition programming will let you follow the matches of tennis’ largest and most prestigious clay-court competition live starting at 5 a.m. EST. A nightly recap will run from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. EST.

 Here is where to find the GAYOT.com Top 10 French Restaurant Guide for these markets:
Los Angeles
New York
Washington D.C.

 For more info about the coverage of Roland Garros 2011, go to www.tennischannel.com.