With a history as colorful as its menu, it’s no surprise that The Leopard at des Artistes wows its crowd time and time again. It’s history is rich — a part of the Hotel Des Artistes, which was originally designed as an artist’s cooperative apartment building in 1918, the Café des Artistes (as it was originally named) was designed to provide meals for the tenants in the building. In 1975, media consultant David Garth asked to take over the ground floor restaurant, which was then revamped into one of New York’s most legendary restaurants. A long list of celebrities, politicians, and high society frequented the Café, but in 2009 financial troubles forced its closing. Luckily, with a new name and new owners (Gianfranco and Paula Bolla-Sorrentino and Chef Vito Gnazzo), the restaurant reopened in 2011 and has reemerged with its success of the past.
Maintaining its prestigious appearance with white linen tablecloths and preservation of the landmark mural series painted in the 1920s by Howard Chandler Christy, the restaurant is a classic New York staple. Not only is its interior a work of art, but it’s conveniently located adjacent to Central Park and close to Lincoln Center. Executive chef Michele Brogioni brings authentic Italian flavor to the menu with a wide array of dishes. One of the standout pastas was the Bucatini ‘alle Sarde,‘ which included sardines, wild fennel, red pepper, garlic, pine nuts and raisins. If it sounds a little out there, that’s because it is, but in a good way. Anyone who can make me like a dish that contains sardines and raisins (both of which I dislike) deserves some high praise. The Pan Roasted Colorado Lamb Loin was out of this world, and it was topped with crispy artichokes, pecorino Toscano, black olives and sun-dried tomato sauce. Definitely a crowd pleaser.
But that’s not to say that their other dishes weren’t amazing, as well — not one dish we tried here was less than delicious. Even their dessert hit it out of the park. The Nutella Chocoalte Mousse served on hazelnut crunch and banana gelato was the cherry on top of our evening at The Leopard. The waitstaff was extremely attentive and very helpful with pairing each dish with one of their great wines. We left here very full — on both food and wine — but we weren’t complaining.
Twisted Talk: Have you ever dined at The Leopard at des Artistes? What was your favorite dish? Discuss below!