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Monday, May 15, 2017

A Peachy's Pick Since 2011, The Leopard at des Artistes Spring 2017 Our Coverage Sponsored by Fresh Origins

Peachy Deegan and Vito Gnazzo, Executive Chef and Owner of The Leopard
Peachy is wearing Donna Degnan (Donna is both Italian and Irish!)
Shrimp Salad "Panzanella" Style

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How many restaurants that we recommended in 2011 have you seen us writing on 6 years later?
Not many!
The restaurant business in Manhattan is cut-throat, competitive and we like business to be that way because the cream rises to the top.
And if your name is Vito Gnazzo or Gianfranco Sorrentino, not only have you risen to the top but you're up there on your own float in the pool, obviously leopard-shaped.

When this restaurant was three weeks old in 2011, we reviewed it:
It was last featured during the Christmas/New Year's Season 2016-2017:
It is a pleasure to await their newest menu incarnations each season.
The Antipasti selection is brilliant this season at The Leopard and we began with an artichoke delicacy: thinly sliced baby artichokes arrived in a gorgeous starburst arrangement with baby red sorrell microgreens that added a lovely spicy flavor and microcelery, marinated with olive oil and lemon.  Frisee salad accompanies these fabulous greens and it's finished 
with beautiful
 shaved parmigiano, of course our most favorite vegetable.

If you are into seafood as we are, you will also have a high affinity for the absolutely gorgeous shrimp salad "panzanella" style.  The shrimp, which we relate to because of our clearcut towering height, arrive from Ecuador/Argentina.  Amazing layers of savory ignite your appetite with tomato soaked breadcrubs, onions and basil in extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing.  Drumroll please: this is the best salad dressing we've had in 2017.  And if you are a sharp reader, you know 99.999% of the time Ms. Pretty Picky abhors salad dressing of all ilks.

The Primi selection is indeed inviting and you'll enjoy it in the ambiance of The Leopard; we even like the music there and we heard Louis Armstrong this time singing in French.  Vito is one of the most health-motivated chefs (not only Italian chefs) that makes cuisine that is not only good for you but also delicious.  This is a rare find.  He always has his thinking hat on for new innovative ways to make you eat healthy, beautifully and deliciously.  Vito will feed your inner pasta monster (and also outer, obviously) with "Grano Saraceno"!  Wild buckwheat awaits you.  No, not the Little Rascals version.  It's combined durham flour dotted with natural colors of buckwheat resulting in a wonderfully textured pasta.   Cherry tomatoes and basil sauce enhance this lovely spring edition.
Meet another winner, Strozzapreti!  Fantastic, thick spirals of toasted ancient grains with white ragout of Octopus and Gaeta Olives are perfect pasta for bathing suit season.  The sophisticated heartiness this dish radiates achieves a successful contrast achieved concurrently.  How many hearty dishes have you seen with such a level of sophistication?
We know, you're still thinking.
Eat Italian, be healthy.

With the good weather you know you want an entree that used to swim in the water.  Hidden underneath this garden of goodness you will meet Mr. Red Snapper, pan-seared.  Oven-dried cherry tomatoes, eggplant, capers and taggiasca olives are most fragrant in the opening notes that welcome you to the Stanley Cup Playoffs of dinner.  The balance is perfectly delicate and boasts finesse between the poisson and vegetables.

The carnivorous entree of our desire was the Pan-Seared duck breast "porchetta" that is ideal with fennel pollen, cipollini with aged balsamic vinegar, tender fragrant picked raisins and vegetable caponata.  The tenderness this dish exudes sets the standard for such a plate in Manhattan.  It is just ducky.  Finally, the traditional zabaione with fresh mixed berries is the way to go for dessert: entirely refreshing and in a word, perfect.  And it is made right in front of you because these guys are perfection.

The Leopard at des Artistes continues to be Highly Recommended by Whom You Know!

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