“Were those used in the London Olympics?” whispered our dining companion as we sat down at the bar at The Fourth. He was referring to the sculpture work hanging from the ceiling, which is oddly reminiscent of the hospital beds into which children were tucked in the opening ceremonies as dozens of Mary Poppins characters rained down around them.
The huge two-level restaurant has been carved into a number of dining areas, some of which — like the chef’s table and the cordoned off dining room — feel more intimate than others, but there’s no getting around the fact that The Fourth looks a lot like an international hotel restaurant, with high ceilings, a certain stark quality and, well, a bathroom down a corridor that passes by the hotel gym. And last night, suited business types wandered in for bar spots and solo seats, seemingly oblivious to the fact that The Fourth had just opened.
But to bill it as a business trip or tourist destination is to undersell its draw: this spot was erected in the Union Square Hyatt by New York City restaurant veterans Jo-Ann Makovitzky and Marco Moreira, who also preside over the venerable Tocqueville and 15 East, and they have a reputation for operating with exacting attention to detail and turning out laudable food.
This is the pair’s fourth project, for which they envision an American brasserie that will eventually serve breakfast, lunch and dinner plus coffee from an espresso bar that brews Cafe Quatrieme, their just-debuted coffee brand.
The duo brought on chef Michael William Davis, who’s done time at Del Posto, and he put together a menu that begins with starters and small bites, moves through communal offerings like oysters and charcuterie and then showcases a pasta section — labeled “starch” — alongside seafood and “livestock.” Seasonal and rooted in comfort, highlights, according to our bartender, include the fire roasted artichoke, pacherri pasta with uni, cioppino and the roasted leg of lamb and braised lamb neck. We ordered that cioppino, and it came with a massive, meaty lobster claw.
The food pairs with a beverage program that features — alongside a deep wine list, international beers and seasonally themed cocktails — a number of keg wines, priced below the other by-the-glass selections.