Taste Test: The Leopard at des Artistes
Carly Loman | Feb 11, 2014 | 10:00AM |

ATTN. PSA! ALERT: PRIME VALENTINE’S DAY DATE SPOT

ALSO: Great place to bring the parents when they are visiting.

ALSO: Generally, outrageously delicious.

Last Friday I went to maybe (read: definitely) the fanciest restaurant I’ve been to in NYC (sans-family) at the Leopard at des Artistes. The experience left me feeling especially fancy, as well as full of insanely yummy food. The best part? Everything I tried was from their special NYFW (#NYFW) Prix Fixe menu—meaning a choice of appetizer, entree, and dessert for a serious steal of only $38. The special is only running until the 13th so, like, RUN THERE NOW.

Before I delve into the food, allow me to explain why The Leopard is *the perfect* Valentine’s Day (or any day) date spot. It’s that ambiance, yo. The restaurant is covered (and I mean covered) in BEAUTIFUL murals painted in the 20’s (and completed in 1935) by artist Howard Chandler Christy. He called the mural series “Fantasy Scenes With Naked Beauties.” Allow me to reiterate: “Fantasy Scenes With Naked Beauties.” Like, damn. Check this out:

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I went with a friend, so we were able to try (almost) all of the dishes. Instead of telling you how delicious everything was (everything was delicious), I’m going to tell you what to order. I tried it all—I KNOW.

ROUND ONE: STARTERS

 Soft polenta with mix wild mushrooms and pecorino VS. Potato leek soup with parmesan crusted croutons

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WINNER: Polenta.

In the battle of the similarly colored gushy food items, the winner is the polenta. The potato leek soup was delicious—perfect, in fact. Polenta still wins this round because it tasted SO DAMN GOOD. Jesus. It was THE perfect winter dish. The buttery stick-to-the-bone feels of this plate made it my favorite of the entire meal. Who knew “soft polenta” even existed? Maybe you did. I didn’t. ANYWAY—so good.

ROUND TWO: ENTREES

Cavatelli with romanesco, cherry tomato and ragusano cheese VS.  Meatloaf “Il Gattopardo” mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach

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WINNER: Cavetelli.

The meatloaf was DELISH, but also a bit run of the mill. (Same goes for the mashed potatoes and spinach.) The pasta, on the other hand, was seasoned perfectly and cooked to al dente perfection. The veggies were unusual, and added interest to what would have otherwise been just a bowl of (amazingly delicious) pasta. Idk if you guys can tell yet, but I loved everything at this place…

ROUND THREE: DESSERTS

Strudel di pere / baked bartlett pears with cinnamon and golden raisins, wrapped in a thin layers pastry dough served with Meyer lemon sorbet VS. Bunet al cioccolato / caramelized chocolate and amaretto budino served with macadamia gelato

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WINNER: LOL DID YOU GUYS READ THE DESCRIPTIONS SLASH LOOK AT THE PHOTOS? THERE IS NO WINNER.

Seriously. Would be impossible to choose. Even under threat of death, I think. I loved my pear strudel and lemon gelato, but I don’t have a huge sweet tooth. IF I DID I don’t think it would have been possible to avoid gobbling down the entire flanny-chocolate-cake-thingy. Because damn.

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Thank you, Leopard at des Artistes, for being you. Keep being you.

And you, readers? You would be doing yourself a LARGE disservice by not attending this restaurant. Next fancy occasion—BOOK IT.

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