By Cathy Kiley

I am almost embarrassed to admit that it took me over a year and a half to visit Cosmopolitan. However, I must say, “better late than never!”
The moment you enter the architectural delight that is Cosmopolitan, you’ll feel you’ve stepped back in time. The dining room is what one can only describe as classic, with richly-draped windows accenting the well-spaced, white-linened tables, all accented by a vintage Hess’s Department Store crystal chandelier suspended a level above in the upper dining area. A friend of mine described it as being “straight out of Mad Men” and I agree.
But, I am getting ahead of myself. I want to begin in the bar. My friend Sandi accompanied me on my first visit to Cosmopolitan for a girls’ night out. We arrived in time for Happy Hour that runs Tuesday to Friday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Nino, who is a “jack of all trades” was behind the beautiful black granite bar and expertly prepared our drinks. Black-netted twinkly lights accent the bar surrounded by oversized, very comfortable barstools that are covered in attractive “martini” fabric. The focal point of the bar area is the exquisite back-lit wall of wines surrounding the high top tables. There is plenty of space for mingling in this delightful room and the oversized, high-backed leather banquettes recently added to separate the bar from the dining room are very chic and add an acoustical buffer.

We settled into the warm and beautiful dining room to enjoy dinner and low and behold, Nino was there as our excellent server. Cosmopolitan has an interesting menu. Sandi and I decided to taste and share two appetizers. First, we tried the Beef Carpaccio – paper-thin slices of raw beef tenderloin served with arugula and shaved parmesan all drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and cracked pepper. It was an excellent starter as was our other appetizer, Tuna Tartare. The raw tuna was chopped and served atop a crispy chickpea fritter, surrounded by olives and caper berries all accompanied by a tangy yogurt cucumber dressing. I think really fresh raw tuna is one of life’s great delights and this fit the bill perfectly.

Next, we shared a beet salad. This was a different presentation. The roasted red beets were shaved and served as a base for the arugula, tomato, pine nuts and light vinaigrette dressing. This was truly a refreshing salad and more than generous to share as a second course.
While waiting for our main courses, we sipped a Toad Hollow Pinot Noir that we chose from their interesting wine list and admired the surroundings. As a main course, I chose the Pan Seared Barramundi. This delicate Australian white fish was topped with a sweet Asian hoisin glaze and accompanied with a crispy polenta cake and sugar snap peas. This dish was deliciously different and I enjoyed every morsel. Sandi chose the Pan Seared Scallops served over Israeli couscous, chanterelle mushrooms, lemon rind and sunchoke puree. The nutty flavors of the sunchokes and tart lemon accented the scallops to perfection. We both loved this dish and it was impossible to choose which entrée was our favorite. Both were beautifully prepared and presented with extremely fresh ingredients.

We sipped freshly brewed coffee and shared a fabulous dessert of Pomegranate Semifreddo. The icy, light tequila lime sorbet topped with fresh pomegranate seeds was lovely and a refreshing ending to a wonderful meal.

I should note that Cosmopolitan recently brought on a new Executive Chef to head up the kitchen staff of Chef Justin Cogan and Sous Chef Tyler Baxter. Executive Chef Charles Piervallo moved to Cosmopolitan from Melt in the Promenade Shops. A Catasauqua native, Charles worked at various restaurants while studying theater at DeSales University. After graduation, he embarked on a 12-year culinary journey around the United States – beginning in Lenox, Massachusetts, across the country to Oregon’s Willamette Valley, ending in New York at The Boat House in Central Park. Charles returned to a much-missed Lehigh Valley where he worked in some of the area’s best dining spots including Bethlehem’s Apollo Grille, The River Grille in Easton and The Glasbern in Fogelsville. Now, after his six-year tenure at Melt, Chef Charles is eager to be a part of the revitalization of downtown Allentown’s social scene and an integral part of Cosmopolitan. Chef is busy creating a new menu for Cosmopolitan – adding new features while putting a personal touch on many menu favorites. On a second visit to Cosmopolitan for the opening of their Rooftop Lounge, my friends Jill and Sandi as well as my daughter Katie and I were delighted to speak with Chef Charles and sample a few of his new appetizers. First, we tried a wonderful plate of Littleneck Clams in a light, spicy broth of chorizo, green chilies and shallots accompanied by crispy slices of French bread. The exceptional savory taste lingered on the tongue to enjoy long after the plate was finished. Chef also sent out a tasting of fresh, tender seared sea scallops served in a light tomato-based sauce accompanied by a yummy vegetable fritter as well as pan-seared Florida grouper that was scrumptious. The fresh, flaky grouper was served with bok choy in a unique sauce with a touch of coconut that had just the right kick. We so enjoyed tasting these exceptional plates and I am very anxious to dine again at Cosmopolitan to enjoy other selections from the new menu.

Manager Amber Hadisoenarto provided us with a tour of the second floor dining room as well as the two-level ballroom upstairs with a seating capacity for 175 people. This is a perfect location for a wedding, important business function or other special occasion. Above all is the beautiful Rooftop Lounge with a spectacular view of the Allentown skyline and bustling city streets below. This two-tier open air rooftop bar is truly a fantastic party spot now serving up music and drinks on Friday and Saturday throughout the season. During our opening-night visit, the Rooftop Lounge was comfortably crowded with partiers dancing to the music and enjoying drinks with a front row seat for the fireworks at Coca Cola Park. This is an extraordinary venue for getting together with friends for a fun evening. The crowd was very eclectic with people of all ages enjoying the view which I found very appealing. Also, there are plans in the works to add a cover to the rooftop area to protect revelers from the elements and allow for year-round use of the space.

Renowned local builder Myron Haydt, his wife Carrie, along with Bill and Phyllis Grube, own Cosmopolitan and I was delighted to meet both the Haydts and Bill Grube when we dined. The owners have great plans for Cosmopolitan and I certainly hope they come to fruition. Painstaking care has been taken in the design and construction of this lovely building and the attention to architectural and decorating detail is beyond compare. Adding to the wonderful atmosphere of Cosmopolitan are the folks that run it. Jeff, Amber and Nino serve as great hosts to their guests and the service staff we encountered during our visits was very professional yet friendly. There is much to like about Cosmopolitan. It adds a refreshingly upscale, tastefully casual, metropolitan air to downtown Allentown yet makes you feel comfortable and welcome. They have a good Happy Hour with reasonably priced drinks and appetizers; an interesting bar menu and a lovely dinner menu. So, whether you are planning a lunch with the ladies or business associates, drinks with friends, dinner with someone special or a night under the stars on the rooftop, give Cosmopolitan a try! Conveniently located at 22 North Sixth Street, Allentown, Cosmopolitan is easily accessible from Route 22 via MacArthur Road (Seventh Street). There is complimentary valet parking as well as on-street parking.610-435-3540,

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