For an everlasting and tantalizing experience, Cathédrale, at Moxy East Village (www.moxyeastvillage.com), awaits. The restaurant is down a hidden passage through narrow doors, leading into a immensely enchanted space with 26 ft ceilings and a grand bar, as well as a expansive main dining room. Executive chef Jason Hall uses his talent to create deliciously fresh French–Mediterranean creations outlining a journey from the decadence of southern France to Italy, Greece and Spain. The astute management and the professional staff provide to diners’ every need, ensuring dietary restrictions are respected to suggesting one of many recommended drinks to accompany a meal. The experience is a delightful visual as well as palatable escape.
Shmoné and Naked Tomato
Chef Eyal Shani has brought a new culinary locale to New York City with Israeli-inspired cuisine. Shmoné (www.shmonenyc.com) in Greenwich Village is a true hidden gem where a small door leads guests into a quaint and congenial space. The chefs are so determined to evoke the freshest of components in each dish that the concise daily menu is updated shortly before the restaurant opens each day, relying on the local market’s freshest and seasonal offerings. The 50-seat eatery is a cozy destination with a home-away-from-home culinary impression, with whiffs of aroma from the kitchen. Freshly baked focaccia bread to start followed by a delicately seasoned hamachi sashimi is truly a proper way to start the meal. Seafood, vegetable or meat alternatives are presented according to the freshest selections from the local market. The kitchen also has an adjoining bar with a selection of cocktails or absinthe drip for guests to consider.
Chef Eyal has created an empire of restaurants that have expanded from Europe to the US. Naked Tomato (www.nakedtomatonyc.com) at Hudson Yards, in New York, is another, which, unlike Shmoné, is more of a casual staple with a large space. Choose from shrimp, fish, meats or vegetables that will be finely skewered, after a table full of mezzes are presented. Roasted bell peppers and potato salad as well as beet salad and tahini with parsley, eggplant with tahini or a citrusy tomato salad and, of course, freshly baked pita feature. Each small plate intends to be well paired with the diner’s chosen skewer. The small plates are refilled throughout the meal. The deserts are just as delectable, offering traditional Mediterranean treats that also includes a milk pudding covered with a sweet wild red rose syrup. The surrounding ambiance is filled with fresh tomatoes and enthusiastically friendly staff. Chef Eyal brings a taste of Mediterranean delight for guests to enjoy.
When thinking of a typical Parisian destination in the city, Ladurée (www.laduree.us) in Soho springs to mind. The luringly vast outdoor space, marvellously presented with trees, plants and floral designs, as well as the traditional indoor setting, reminiscent of a typical Parisian location on the Champs-Élysées, make for a memorable dining hotspot in the city. Their rose latte has dried rose petals floating over a thick foam of milk; their matcha latte provides a touch of green tea delight to enjoy with any desired pastr. The iconic ispahan is a picturesque creation with large macaron biscuits enveloping rose petal cream, lychee and raspberries; the vanilla millefeuille is a crispy decadence with thin layers of cream within each layer of caramelized puffed pastry; while their delectable éclairs, chocolate and caramel, are delightfully appetizing with a moist creamy centre. Ladurée may stand out for their range of sweet treats; however their slew of savoury delights are just as delicious. Opt for brunch, lunch or dinner and enjoy French onion soup with melted emmental cheese, seasonal quiches or the traditional quiche lorraine that are appropriately accompanied by a simple salad. For a hot meal, the creamy parmesan mushroom risotto is the way to go, while the lobster pasta with preserved lemon, tomato confit and basil is a simply rendition that packs a punch of flavours. A variety of French toasts are available to fulfil one’s sweet and indulgent appetite, whether with chocolate hazelnuts, maple syrup, or raspberry with a touch of the delightful rose chantilly, a whipped cream that is induced with floral decadence. For a savoury French toast, the crispy bacon with a fried egg and pecan nuts is another Ladurée recommendation. Ladurée is a European touch that provides a welcoming atmosphere with culinary creations that are sure to please.
For an afternoon teatime with a French touch in the city, head downtown to Mariebelle (www.mariebelle.com). The loose leaf tea is served in a traditional manner to complement a selection of macarons, buttery madeleines or savoury bite-size sandwiches. For an intense chocolate experience, opt for one of their wide hot chocolate selections ranging from semi-sweet to intensely bold. The dining room is quaint, with pictures of Parisian landmarks throughout, transporting guests from New York to the city of light.
What started as a viral video on social media transformed a salt sprinkling star into a meme that eventually led into a global empire. Many are familiar with Nusr-Et as a Turkish steakhouse with Nusret Gökçe’s, also known as Salt Bae’s, touch of culinary approval, bringing gold-inspired dishes to the scene. However, his background as a butcher, restaurateur, chef and culinary entertainer has brought much acclaim amongst international clientele from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to the UK and Greece. With a number of locations in the United States, Nusr-Et landed in New York’s Midtown in 2018 where lit Himalayan salt lanterns reflected off of wooden walls surrounding the vast space. Start the luxurious and lavish culinary journey with a simply dressed salad composed of seasonal greens before making your way to your main dishes of choice from seafood-based to an extensive selection of meat options. While a gold embellished steak is one of many dishes, with a sheet of gold embracing the meat ready to be cut and enjoyed, simpler dishes are available including organic salmon, prawns or tuna steak. With slivers of gold serving as one of many Nusr-Et approved attributes to awaken the palate and revive the senses, certain cocktails are also available with streaks of gold touches. While a variety of salads, appetizers, entrées, sushi and sides are provided, the dessert option is a more traditional take on Turkish decadence as a simple slice of moist pistachio-filled baklava makes its way to the table on a large convivial tray, served either in a traditional manner or wrapped in a thin layer of gold leaf. For a sweeter touch to the honey-infused finely chopped pistachio-filled filo pastry, a Turkish-style ice cream is offered, with a creamy and soft consistency, that serves as a lovely touch to the end of a meal. For those craving a Nusr-Et dining decadence without the formal setting, Saltbae Burger in the city provides a selection of burger options, also with a gold-leaf touch, in a more casual and laid-back atmosphere.
For a neighbourhood destination with an Italian culinary touch, Il Gradino (www.ilgradino.com) has landed on the Upper East Side in a pleasantly cozy and intimate location. The food applies Mediterranean touches from various parts of Italy. Owner Diego Argudo has a piacere touch, where dishes can be made to the diner’s personal preferences, living up to their motto, ‘Preparing dishes your way is our specialty.’ Omitting or adding an ingredient is far from a constraint but a pleasure for executive chef Carlos Inga as he caters to guests’ cravings and requests. •
Lola Cristall is Paris editor of Lucire.
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