The Tao Group is opening yet another big restaurant, this time the multi-room French-Mediterranean Cathédrale in the new Moxy East Village at 112 East 11th St., between Third and Fourth avenues.
Due to open September 19th, the 300-seat spot will be helmed by executive chef Jason Hall, who began at Craft its first year, and then served as chef de cuisine at Gotham Bar & Grill in 2010 to 2013, a period during which it earned three stars in the Times. The project will also be overseen by Tao chef/partner Ralph Scamardella, who worked with Hall on Legasea and helped spearhead popular upscale Greek restaurant Avra Madison Estiatorio.
The decor is an homage to the East Village, with posters from the legendary performance space Filmore East and neon signs with the names of former nightclubs from the area. Designed by the Rockwell Group, Cathédrale has a main dining room with soaring ceilings and a sculpture of rose gold birds by Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi; a patio area with a retractable roof and lots of greenery; and a third area with a large black marble bar and an open kitchen displaying copper pots, a hearth oven, and rotisserie.
Dishes here are inspired by cuisine in Nice, Provence, and St. Tropez, Hall says. There will be a take on the large colorful crudité plate at famed club Cinquante Cinq in St. Tropez, as well as snapper made with a Provencal sauce, rotisserie chicken chasseur-style, roasted calamari, and chickpea crepes. Custom spices, oils, and vinegars come via a collaboration with East Village emporium SOS Chef.
“Classic French has had such a moment in New York with Le Coucou, Frenchette, Lafayette, and Pastis, and we love that trend in food but wanted to lighten it up,” Hall says.
The massive Tao Group is known for clubby, celebrity-magnet restaurants that haven’t always gotten great food reviews, though the more recent Feroce has gotten some buzz, but the company says its trying to change that reputation. Despite a pre-opening celebration last night that had Madonna impersonators, Hall insists Cathédrale will be a big step in that direction.