Chef Luke Rogers and owner Luis Uriate built Cathedral Italian Bistro in Plano from their combined vision to create an approachable, but quality, dining experience. “Having a restaurant that serves amazing food and makes everyone feel welcome is important to us,” Rogers tells Eater Dallas.
It took two years of work for Rogers to bring Cathedral Italian Bistro to life. In collaboration with his team, many who came along from his tenure as executive chef at the now-closed Savor in Klyde Warren Park, Rogers developed a concept and menu that offers “Italian cuisine with Texas flair.” It pays homage to places Rogers has traveled, dishes he loved as a child, and his treasured experience working in the industry.
Eater Dallas talked with Rogers and pastry chef Daniel Rosales to get a look inside five of the unique plates on the menu of this Italian restaurant.
Garlic Knots With Wagyu Beef Tallow Candle
“My wife and I saw someone on TV spreading wagyu beef tallow on bread instead of butter. We thought maybe we could make wagyu beef tallow into candles, flavoring it however we wanted. For this dish, I melt down wagyu beef fat, infuse it with wonderful umami flavors, and pour it into molds with a soy wick. At the table, we present a plate with four parmesan, garlic, and spice covered knots alongside a dish with balsamic vinegar, spices, and the lit wagyu beef tallow candle. I want people to rip open the bread to the warm, soft inside and swirl it in the tallow to soak up all the flavors for that first bite.”
Italian Egg Rolls
“Growing up, my mom would make what she called Italian egg rolls. She would mix together sage pork sausage and mozzarella with spaghetti sauce. Roll it up in a wrap and deep fry it. When I started working on this concept, I remembered how delicious my mom’s Italian egg rolls were and thought they should be on the menu. Because this is such a special dish for me, there are only two people here that know the recipe. It’s a secret, but I will say that I do use fresher ingredients, we mix pesto into it, so it’s got a lot of flavor, and they are served with a side of house made marinara, gravy, or spaghetti sauce — you know, whatever you want to call it.”
“I’ve worked with a lot of Italian chefs and I’ve had branzino on menus at other restaurants, but it was always a filet. I got the inspiration for this dish when my wife and I were in the Dominican Republic. There was a lady cooking fresh red snapper, right from the ocean, serving it with plantains and tostones. That was the initial vision, but we were left wondering how we could make the dish Italian, but also a little southern. We decided to roast the whole branzino with rosemary, caper butter, and lemon in our stone hearth oven. Cooking at nearly 600 degrees, the fish gets a little char on the outside, but is super soft and moist on the inside. We serve the whole fish on a giant wood board with a medley of succotash vegetables such as okra, kidney beans, tomatoes, and corn.”
“When I was working in Memphis for chef Connor O’Neill, he had a rigatoni bolognese on the menu. We were buying rigatoni pasta then, but I remember that the bolognese sauce was so flavorful. It was different because it had mascarpone and lemon in it. Inspired to create a unique sauce for our house made rigatoni pasta, I decided to add wagyu beef cheek and olive into a mix of pork, veal, and ground beef. I love the umami flavor and slight acidity olive gives my bolognese.”
Hazelnut Quattro Leche Cake
Pastry chef Daniel Rosales was at Savor for seven months before the pandemic hit. When he learned about Cathedral Italian Bistro from Rogers, he joined the team to work alongside him again. He describes this dish.
“Tres leche cake is something I grew up loving and enjoying multiple times a year. It’s a dessert that I like to take and experiment with using different flavors. For this one in particular, I wanted it to be fall forward. I created a hazelnut sponge cake that I soaked in a four milk blend: whole milk, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and dulce de leche. The soaked cake is topped with a frangelico whipped ganache and garnished with candied hazelnuts and fresh pomegranate seeds.”