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Friday, May 12, 2023

#PeachysPicks #TerrificTakeout #TheLeopardatdesArtistes #IlGattopardoGroup A Peachy's Pick Since 2011, The Leopard at des Artistes Spring 2023

Roasted Sea Scallops: the Pinnacle of Your Existence
Light up your life with Linguine All'Aragosta
Everything here is perfect.  
We're just reminding you.
In 2011 when they first opened, we told you The Leopard earned its spots with Peachy.  The Leopard at des Artistes is a hallowed hall of hospitality that dates back to we believe 1917 with French fare, but as we first chronicled when they opened, this incarnation is superlatively Italian and tremendously authentic.  The Leopard was last featured in 2022.
Founder and Owner Gianfranco Sorrentino, Executive Chef Jordan Frosolone and Manager Peppe Abbate

Not only is it one of the oldest historical restaurants of New York we review but also it is one of the oldest in our history that we have absolutely raved about time and time again earning it a top spot on our Best of 2023 list which is coming out soon.  Sure, past Presidents and A-list actors go there regularly, but what you should know is that your visit is just as important and we'd have a hard time believing The White House or any Hollywood set has better cuisine than this.  (And maybe we have checked but can't tell you!)  This is where you go to celebrate!  This is also where you go to elevate your daily life.  We could not be happier with founder and owner Gianfranco Sorrentino!
Of course The Leopard is in the Il Gattopardo Group and is named after Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's masterpiece, "Il Gattopardo" portrayed in Luchino Visconti's 1963 movie The Leopard.
You will first notice the exquisite murals by Howard Chandler Christy (1922-35):
As the temperatures rise up this Tartare di Tonno is a beacon of refreshment.  Tuna tartare is paired with Ora Blanco (the varietal) White Gold from Sicily, evidencing authenticity and is further embellished with toasted almonds that brilliantly bring this antipasti to another stratosphere.  Lavender and Rosemary emulsion seal the deal on this exquisite masterpiece that is so beautiful, you almost hate to eat it.  Though often we pair every course with a little wine, this time we committed to a couple instead including this standout red:
Gruppo Italiano continues to educate the world on the excellence of Italian wines, and this knockout blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Petit Verdot won us over with its robust flavor which Peachy is always going for and its balance which proved its stellar versatility.  We were delighted to meet Manager Peppe Abbate:
It goes without saying if we are recommending a restaurant that their staff and service are top-notch, but you should know The Leopard is a step above that.  Exceptional service with a smile that is meant you'll find with Peppe, Edgardo, multiple Alex's, Leandro, Denizhan and more. 
We were in the pink with Gianfranco and the derriere of prosciutto!  In Italian it is called Culatta, sourced from Parma of course, and the delicacy is the Ferrari of all Prosciuttos.  The thinness of each soft slice was a rhapsody in pig!  
There are a million Calamaris in the world and many in New York, but there's only one Calamari Alla Griglia at The Leopard at des Artistes.
And you're going to love it!
With exemplary style, this perfectly grilled calamari dances in Sicilian style eggplant caponata, pine nuts and herb croutons yielding a spectacular array of flavors and textures to brighten your spring.
As always, these pictures are completely unedited.  You win like Gianfranco does for a dozen years straight and counting for many more, or we do not publish.  Sformato di Tartufo Nero steps up to bat and knocks it out of the park with a home run in your stomach with black truffle custard to-die-for, asparagus puree, and crispy parmigiano Reggiano.  The aroma alone will have your stomach doing its own choreographed cheerleader routine as your fork dives into this amalgamation of deliciousness!
A smashing Amuse-Bouche was a puck drop inbetween courses (you know it is our High Holy Time of Stanley Cup Playoffs Henry in Miami you have to tell us who you think will win the cup) and we reveled in the surprise of Caccio Uova: pecorino cheese, bread, milk, egg and parmesean cheese arrived in perfect flavor and proportion to one another.  We surmise they are habit forming!
The Primi menu is like a greatest hits album of pasta.  We began with the Fettuccine con Carciofi: homemade fettuccine, guanciale (pork jaw) and artichoke heats puree exponentially raised with aged Pecorino Romano.  The exquisite bevy of heartiness delighted our appetite and we believe this might be our first guanciale experience and it will not be our last.
Executive Chef Jordan Frosolone is smiling because he knows he has achieved with this next dish under Primi: Linguine All'Aragosta!  (If you are looking for Vito Gnazzo of course he is at Il Gattopardo!)
All of the Lobsters in Maine when they grow up aspire to be this dish.
Setaro dry linguine, Maine Lobster, red and yellow Vesuvio Piennolo cherry tomatoes all assemble for a symphony of springtime and the concert hall is your palate.  Words do not do this sublime primi justice and we knew we would love it.  The succulence of the lobster really comes out in this perfectly al dente linguine which is the right way to start your night!
Make sure you spend quality time with your lobster too:
Though jovial in personality, Peppe takes his Italian wines with utmost respect and an appropriate air of seriousness to you.
Our lobster cried out for a white and this crisp, striking Italian Falanghina 2021 Beneventano rose to the occasion.
It's always a great idea to add more vegetables to your meal and The Leopard brings them to an exciting level!  The Bietola Satata: sauteed swiss chard, anchovies and walnuts proves to be a healthful addiction you'll be proud to have and the delicate Funghi of roasted mushrooms with parsley and sofritto will win you over with their versatility as a side with any entree.
Secondi is going to be the toughest decision of your day.
Above, please meet the Merluzzo Al Forno: Oven baked cod, artichokes, Taggiasca olives, white wine, marjoram sauce which is a gorgeous juxtaposition first and a tantalizing taste second.  
We did think the lobster linguine would be our favorite, but we were wrong.
The Capesante Arrosto beat it to #1 for Peachy.  These Roasted Sea Scallops are simply going to be the pinnacle of your existence in their extraordinary rendition with fava beans veloute, guanciale (see we now love Pork Jaw and 12 years and counting of coming here we are still learning new cuisine because they are the best of the best) and vinaigrette.
You cannot pass go and collect $200 without indulging in this elite entree in the Peachy virtual Manhattan Monopoly!
Scallop Glamour Shots
You cannot go wrong with any of their desserts - this time the Frolla Al Limone won us over with the lemon and ribiolina cheese custard with mixed berry, a harbinger of the fantastic weather!
Peppe Abbate, Gianfranco Sorrentino, Peachy Deegan, Vincenzo Adamao and Jordan Frosolone
The Leopard at des Artistes continues to be Highly Recommended by Whom You Know!
We love it.
(we didn't even know we were going to dress like the floral arrangements - what a surprise because we often match wearing leopard!-!)

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