VOLANTE Be prepared not just for a delectable and sumptuous meal. Lola Cristall is wowed by the Leopard at des Artistes’ unique atmosphere with its historical murals
There are some places exceptionally worth visiting and experiencing, providing a truly memorable experience that goes above and beyond all expectations. The Leopard at des Artistes (www.theleopardnyc.com), near Central Park in New York, is one of those establishments.
There is the extraordinary service, the delectable cuisine, and the captivatingly historic ambiance providing a mesmerizing setting. Italian culinary ingenuity is served to provide a tantalizing palatable expedition from one dish to another.
Gianfranco Sorrentino, managing partner at Il Gattopardo Group and president of Gruppo Italiano (www.gruppo-italiano.com), provides his three decade-long experience from the hospitality industry from Italy, Japan, New York and Massachusetts. Gianfranco, along with his wife, Paula Bolla-Sorrentino, ensure a truly majestic, delightful and lavish setting capable of luring a crowd of culinary and artistic aficionados.
The husband-and-wife duo has formed a culinary empire under the distinguished Il Gattopardo Group of restaurants that includes the Leopard at des Artistes, Mozzarella e Vino and Il Gattopardo, a catering service, and their non-profit, Gruppo Italiano, which aims to shed light and share insights on authentic and traditional Italian cuisine. Gianfranco and Paula have a thorough eye for design, the arts and Italian culinary inspiration. Their highly knowledgable and friendly staff allows guests to feel at home as they are taken on a luxurious gourmet trip.
At the Leopard at des Artistes, executive chef Jordan Frosolone is an artist at work presenting his masterpieces. The sformato, a black truffle custard, on a bed of kabosha squash purée, with crispy parmagiano reggiano, explodes with intense flavours, while the calamari alla griglia reveals a plate of lightly grilled calamari over a delicate touch of Sicilian almond cream accompanied by a beautifully served herb salad for a balance of textures and consistencies.
For a fulfilling voyage into seafood, the zuppa di pesce, a fish soup with a selection of supremely fresh mix of mussles, clams, octopus, crustaceans and fish in a boldly seasoned broth, is a pungent and hearty option. For pasta lovers, the agnolotti di castagne is an explosion of taste as each agnolotti pasta is delicately packed with chestnut and robiolina cheese; three types of milk cheese, deriving from cow, sheep and goat, are embraced by pungent black truffle shavings and set on a bed of mouth-watering brown butter. Regardless of the chosen desired dish, whether meat-based, vegetarian or simple salads, the tastes, presentation and exquisite aromas of each plate contribute to the full dining experience.
The dolci options make for captivating sweet touches. Traditional zabaione is served table side as egg whites, a hint of granulated sugar and wine are whisked in a copper bowl over a hot flame till the proper emulsified consistency comes, before the creamy mixture is poured over a cup of fresh fruits. The olive oil cake, also known as the torta olio d’oliva, is drenched in flavourful olive oil and accompanied by vanilla ice-cream. From subtle tastes to bold delight, the torta caprese is a chocolate lover’s dream come true as the flourless chocolate cake beautifully accompanies a light chocolate sauce and sweet pistachio.
Diners are further hypnotized by the surrounding detailed murals by Howard Chandler Christy. Beautifully restored and radiating almost a century later, the crisp green garden comes to life with whimsical and elated figures.
The Leopard at des Artistes continues to be a destination of choice amongst artists and personalities, yet the stars are Chef Jordan and Howard Chandler Christy thanks to the Sorrentinos’ hard work and dedication. •
Lola Cristall is Paris editor of Lucire.
Related articles hand-picked by our editors
Lola Cristall returns to uptown New York to kick off her latest excursions to the US east coast’s finest dining experiences
New York charm
Lola Cristall heads upstate in New York to begin her look at luxury places to stay and dine
Photographed by Elizabeth Haynes, Alex Staniloff, and Food Story Media Ltd.
At the pinnacle
In the second of our two-part story on fine food on the US east coast, Lola Cristall reaches for the sky in Manhattan, and has a comfortable, down-to-earth experience in Boston (and several points in between)
Photographed by Charissa Fay, Eva Sakellarides, and Brian Samuels Photography