Over the last two-and-a-half years, as Moxy Hotels have opened all around New York, Tao Group has been churning out restaurants and dining concepts to go with them: there’s The Fleur Room, Legasea, Feroce and Magic Hour. Their latest collaborative project, Cathédrale, has opened at the Moxy East Village, and Tao’s chef/partner Ralph Scamardella and executive chef Jason Hall are hoping to make it their marquee restaurant for the hotel group.
“I think this is really the crowning achievement of what we were trying to do,” says Scamardella.
The feel and cuisine of Cathédrale is distinct for both the Moxy and Tao: elevated French Mediterranean in an elegant, vaulted space. Designed by Rockwell Group, the subterranean space features triple-high ceilings, where a custom Edoardo Tresoldi wire sculpture is installed, an outdoor terrace swathed in greenery, a private dining room, and open kitchen accented by copper and dark blue tones, reflecting the Mediterranean direction of the menu.
“It is really a lighter, cleaner approach,” says Scamardella of the cuisine, adding that accents of Italian and Spanish cooking are also incorporated.
“If you think French food, you [often] think butter, heaviness; and the Mediterranean side of French is olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, brightness,” adds Hall. “Here, it’s cleaner, elemental cooking — grilling, roasting — those kinds of things.”
The menu includes traditional fare, often appearing with a twist — pissaladière, tuna tartare with tomato relish, bouillabaisse incorporating local fish — as well as dishes culled from French markets.
“You go to these markets in France and there’s a big rotisserie stall, and underneath those rotisserie chickens they have all these potatoes and root vegetables that just slow cook in that rotisserie all day, so that’s represented here,” says Hall. “In Nice, they have these big Socca stations; we’re going to do those out of a hearth oven. Some of those things you really only see there, and they haven’t had those moments in New York [yet].”
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