Magazine article The New Yorker

The Leopard at Des Artistes

Magazine article The New Yorker

The Leopard at Des Artistes

Article excerpt

"If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change," says a young aristocrat in "The Leopard," the 1958 book by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and the 1963 Visconti movie, about the decline of the Italian ruling class during the Risorgimento. It could just as easily apply to the Leopard, the restaurant that Gianfranco and Paula Bolla Sorrentino, the owners of Il Gattopardo in midtown, opened this year in the former Cafe des Artistes. That restaurant, which was established in 1917, was, of course, an uptown landmark--in its final decades, its romantic floral displays, elegant Howard Chandler Christy murals, and plates of Wiener schnitzel made it one of the city's last outposts of Old World glamour. It closed in 2009, a loss that some people evidently still haven't come to terms with. "What an awful name!" read a post on the Times's Web site regarding the Leopard. Another added, hopefully, "Perhaps all this will disappear as time goes on."

But the Leopard at des Artistes doesn't seem likely to disappear anytime soon. It's the kind of convivial, unpretentious place that, in the end, is practically un-hatable. As before, the atmosphere is the star, though it's been updated: the floors are polished wood and terrazzo; magnolia branches line the leaded windows; and Christy's murals--pink-cheeked, pre-Botox nymphs frolicking in a lush tropical paradise--have been restored to their original, vintage-porny glory. It's worth a trip just to sit at one of the candle-lit tables, sipping a goblet of Tintore and watching the tastefully blinged-out clientele file past. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.