|The decorative masterpieces- Howard Chandler Christy murals-restored.|
|Relaxed elegance - bright with matte white walls and gleaming blond wooden panels, 'simple' refined cloth linen, shiny china,-both white and solid cutlery-plus the professional caring, well-paced service equivalent to the interior plush environment.|
And that was pretty much it -as far as late 20th century visits go.
What took us so long to re-experience- this iconic space- now the Leopard at des Artistes with a revived decor-post a painstaking nine month renovation-and its tasteful menu of classic and modern southern Italian culinary staples -overseen by restaurant veterans (Paula Bolla-Sorrentino and Gianfranco Sorrentino and acclaimed Executive Chef Vito Gnazzo)- well, we have no idea.
But we can positively check-off a 21st century YES- for the five star experience-this accessibly luxurious restaurant and glamorous bar - delivers now, for all five senses.
Culinary highlights from the seasonal à la carte menu- abound-not surprisingly-given the carefully sourced, high quality ingredients -allowed to command center stage- a balance of the 'gourmet' and 'simple' rusticity of southern Italian (Kingdom of the Two Sicilies) cuisine.
|A welcome flute of crisp Prosecco|
|Amuse-bouché fried Sicilian rice balls aka best bar food staple- to start all meals inspired by..learning how to cook from our grandmothers preparing the family meals...|
|Healthy options abound-appetizers included-pictured-oven roasted beets, and tomato- with fresh robiola cheese and baby kale-extra virgin olive oil and lemon dressing-finely orchestrated balance of tart, crisp and creamy soft ripened richness. $17|
|We could eat this daily-if only-smoked tuna carpaccio over tender fennel and frisée salad with tangy citrus accents $20|
|Lightly breaded grilled swordfish-tender-with southern Italian staple-a fragrant salmoriglio sauce-chopped fresh garlic, lemon, chopped oregano and parsley, salt/pepper--paired with sautéed broccoli rabe.|
|a bread basket-crisp buttery breadsticks-and chewy breads for sauce sopping up|
|A fabulous wine by the glass opportunity(!!!) -sparkling, red or white- allows for varied options from small Italian producers personally known by the Leopard at Des Artistes proprietors. Wine pairings-are available with the prix fixe 3 course menu-or be smart and defer to suggestions by the well trained staff. We experienced a balance of whites-from acrisp full mineral-fruity surprise-a rather sophisticated Pinot Grigio 2016 Merol ($14)-to buttery-oaky chardonnay style of the Pecorino 2015 Ciavolich ($16) Full and half bottles, fancy and classic cocktails, post meal spirits-and Italian beers-all available on a complete drinks menu.|
|Our fav-a worthy by the glass option-spicy-somewhat dry smokey Trebbiano d'Abruzzo "Altare" 2013 Marramiero $19 WOW.|
|A finale-of Chef Temptations...include several mouth-watering choices...from an indulgent Italian style beignet - Bigné with sweet hazelnut creme in a wild berry sauce...and a 'less guilty' assortment of fresh seasonal berries. $15|
Feel free to dress-up or wear jeans to partake of a meal well-served...appreciative fellow diners ranged from casually attired regulars, after work professionals, hand holding 20 something couples (romantic date alert), and pre-theater groups.
Special brunch menus, a BYOB Sunday night supper 5-10 pm, private events and off-premise services available.
1 West 67th Street/NYC 10023