Cathédrale: Fine French/Mediterranean Fare In One Of The City’s Most Glamorous Settings!

The minute you walk into Cathédrale in the Moxy Hotel on East 11th Street (directly across from Webster Hall), your eyes will be wide open and the stunning scents emanating from the open kitchen will have you salivating. Think about having the finest fare from Italy, France and Spain in a huge dining room with the highest of ceilings and unique “wall art” and fixtures that include neon signs with the names of now defunct legendary NYC clubs.

The cocktails here are truly artisanal and many are created by the talented and accommodating bartenders. A favorite that my dinner guest and I started our dinner out with was April In Paris, which was actually a name voted on by the entire wait and bar staff! This fabulous pink concoction is light and refreshing and includes Tanqueray 10 Gin, Manzilla Sherry, egg whites, rose nectar and lemon. The edible flowers petals scattered on top are just one of the nice extra touches that the staff at Cathédrale are known for.

My dining guest Gail Worley of worleygig.com and I decided to share what we would consider to be a “real summertime” appetizer and the Heirloom Tomato Tartine sounded like it would fit the bill–and it certainly did! The colors of the mixed large and grape size heirloom tomatoes were dazzling, and they were just so juicy. No doubt these gems were picked at a local farm just the day before! The “tartine” seems to be a dark toasted thick slice ciabatta bread that is actually called Green Garlic Crostini. What was most impressive to us was all the beautiful herbs (including fresh basil) and extra virgin olive oil that the tomatoes were tossed with! What a simple yet smashing summer taste sensation! It is served so beautifully on a bed of baby watercress.

We then wanted to share the much talked about the House Made Fettucine with fresh herbs and shaved black truffles. There is a designated waitstaff member whom I will call “The Prince Of Truffles” who comes around to slice a fresh large truffle directly onto your pasta–and he is oh-so-generous! As you can tell from the picture above, this might be the most fresh truffle served on any pasta dish in the city. The sauce on the fettuccine is simple and buttery–with lots of fresh herbs including basil and rosemary, giving it a bit of a green edge. The fresh shavings of Parmesan cheese on top of the dish get stringy and warm–another added plus for me! Note that this is an expensive dish but it is a large portion that two diners can share, even as an entree. (It is very filling!)

There are several lovely lovely steaks to choose from on the regular menu including an eight ounce Filet Mignon, 14 ounce New York Strip done Au Poivre style and a 24 ounce Ribeye. We got the Filet Mignon medium rare and not only loved the tenderness and juiciness of this grass fed delight but loved the special touches including the Paris Mushroom Duxelles on top and divine Bordelaise sauce underneath. There is a lovely patch of herb butter under the mushrooms which creates the most colossal taste sensation as it melts from the heat of the meat. Any meat lover will adore this Modern French rendition of “the king of steaks.”

We “sided” our steak with the Creamless Corn. It might not have any cream but it certainly is buttery and the fresh chives on top put in an added kick. This corn is fresh shucked and right off the farm truck. It’s firm and flavorful and I love the classic French gourmet touch of being served in a classic copper pot! Again we have a portion that is perfect for two people to share. Other great sides served at Cathédrale are Garnet Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli Rabe, Sautéed Spinach, Asparagus, Wild Mushrooms and Macaroni Gratin Jambon (which can be made vegetarian upon request).

Oh, let me throw in a little advice your way right now if you are planning on eating at Cathédrale–keep the fabulous warm pull apart Milk Bread coming and coming! This is some of the most seductive bread any NYC fine dining establishment and we have no doubt that several little old ladies have stuffed this into their handbags when no one was looking and then ordered more! The bread has a slight bit of saltiness and comes sides with amazing homemade sesame butter!

There are some classic Mediterranean desserts served at Cathédrale and we tried two of them. The first was the frozen lemon shell stuffed with lemon flavored cream, lying on a bed of freshly made sorbet. This is a richer dessert than it looks and it is simply incredible. The sorbet has a slight tartness and I would recommend that all fresh lemon lovers check this out.

The beignets are remarkable as not only are they hot, freshly made and served with a cream sauce for dipping–but they have fresh sour cherry compote as their filling. This is a great dessert for sharing and will leave you very satisfied. The beignets are a fluffier, lighter version of the normally “cakey” ones serves in The Big Easy. I would not be surprised if Chef Paul Prudhomme came down from heaven to try these, LOL!

I strongly recommend this divine establishment that is a crown jewel of the Tao Hospitality Group. It’s elevated cuisine with a rock and roll vibe–and the soundtrack in the background is some of the hippest rock ‘roll of the past 35 years. You’ll love the friendly waiters who are super knowledgeable on both food and spirits. For more info on this gourmand’s fantasy palace, go to MoxyEastVillage.com.

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