THE LEOPARD AT DES ARTISTES
THE LEOPARD at Des Artistes is located at 1 West 67th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. The restaurant is open daily for Dinner from 5PM-11:30PM. Lunch is served Monday – Friday from 12PM-3PM and brunch hours are Saturday and Sunday from 11:30AM-3PM. Reservations are recommended: 212-787-8767 or www.theleopardnyc.com.
Historic New York City Landmark Serving Southern Italian Cuisine Sets a New Standard For Luxury Italian Dining
Housed in one of New York’s most legendary and famous buildings, the Hotel des Artistes, THE LEOPARD at Des Artistes offers Southern Italian cuisine inspired by the area once known as “The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.” Restaurateurs Gianfranco Sorrentino and his wife, Paula Bolla-Sorrentino, who brought New York the successful Il Gattopardo (Italian for The Leopard), and the former Sette MoMa Restaurant at The Museum of Modern Art, have totally renovated the former Café des Artistes space. The restaurant’s breathtaking murals were given a much-needed restoration to their original colors, to bring back their atmosphere of romance and fantasy.
Architects Roger Hirsch and Myriam Corti renovated the restaurant to create a sophisticated and comfortable dining experience. Classic and modern details are subtle and refined in homage to the artful spirit of The Hotel Des Artistes. Diners are seated at roomy and luxurious banquettes situated throughout the dining rooms, which boasts a combination of terrazzo floors complete with large, playful zinc circles, and rich walnut floors. Walnut-clad columns bring dramatic warmth and refinement to the interior, and a new lighting system accentuates the mythical murals’ beauty. The overall effect is clean and airy, creating a contemporary elegance in which to enjoy memorable cuisine.
Executive Chef Vito Gnazzo, who is also the executive chef at Il Gattopardo since its foundation, along with Chef de Cuisine Claudio Cristofoli, created the Southern Italian menu that finds its roots in the culinary traditions of the regions of Campania, Basilicata, Calabria, Apulia, Sardinia, and of course Sicily. His genius lies in his ability to utilize traditional recipes and maintain culinary honesty, while keeping is creations light and toothsome. Everything tastes authentic; nothing tastes old fashioned. “Taste” being the operative word. Chef Gnazzo’s hand with seasoning is awesome.
Guests may begin dinner with appetizers including Eggplant and Smoked Buffalo Mozzarella timbale with spicy tomato sauce; Sardinian “fregola” with clams and mussels in a shell fish broth and Fennel and Orange Salad with Nocellara olives dressed with olive oil and white wine vinegar (below).
We adored melt-in-your mouth Grilled Octopus and celery potato salad with olive oil and lemon dressing, and green olives. Imported White Asparagus (a special) was the best we have ever tasted this side of the Atlantic. All ingredients are the finest quality, whether imported or sourced from local purveyors.
Homemade pappardelle with roasted rabbit and seasonal mushrooms: Images Credit: Melissa Horn
Ravishing pastas include Bucatini with sardines, onions, wild fennel, peanuts and raisins; Rigatoni “alla Norma” with sautéed eggplant and aged ricotta cheese in a tomato sauce (pictured below) and remarkable Ravioli filled with braised artichokes and burrata in a light tomato marjoram sauce.
Signature entrées consist of Filet of Mediterranean “Branzino” wrapped in parchment paper with baby vegetables and herbed olive oil; Lamb Loin sautéed in a red wine and tarragon sauce, served with braised pearl onions and carrots and Roasted Berkshire Tender Pork Loin in its own sauce, served with fingerling potatoes, mushrooms and artichokes.
For something really special, go for one of the best Grilled dry aged rib eyes, in New York, served with crispy rosemary French fries (serves two people) . You may never visit you favorite NY steak house again.
Shellfish ragout served with organic couscous
The “temptation” menu was crafted by Gnazzo and Cristofoli and includes delectable desserts such as a crunchy Cannoli filled with sheep’s ricotta milk, chocolate chips and Bronte pistachios; Warm Bartlett Pear over puff pastry with caramel sauce and Warm Lava Chocolate Cake served with a side of artisanal ice cream. Best of all, Traditional Zabaione with fresh mixed berries, is whisked tableside and is perfection.
THE LEOPARD BAR AND APERITIVO PARLOR
Diners can also enjoy drinks and light bites at the newly redesigned bar.
Gianfranco Sorrentino, who also oversees the beverage department of THE LEOPARD, collaborated with Sommelier Marco Irato to create the restaurant’s wine list, which offers over 160 bottles of Italian whites and reds, fifteen of which are by the glass. A sprinkling of French Champagnes also have a presence on the menu. Signature cocktails include a Neapolitan Martini with Limoncello and Vodka and Donnafugata Campari shaken with Grand Marnier Orange.The wine list is admirable and affordable. We were delighted with a sprightly Manzoni Bianco 2011 “Villa Brunesca” at 14 the glass and a lovely Super Tuscan 2007 “Poggiassai” Poggio Bonelli, which was $21 for a glass. Cocktails are expertly constructed and generous.
Service at the THE LEOPARD at Des Artistes is exceptional, from reception to waiter and bus-staff. And considering the extraordinary dining experience, prices are not out of line. In fact, there is a $28 Prix Fixe lunch Monday to Friday and one of our town’s most delightful brunches can be enjoyed Saturday and Sunday. As one of Manhattan’s most rewarding Italian restaurants, THE LEOPARD at Des Artistes is an absolute must. Rating: A Major
Traditional Sicilian cannoli (Above)
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