Category Archives: Gattopardo

Lunch at Il Gattopardo NYC

Il Gattopardo was the last restaurant in New York City I visited before leaving for Italy on February 4.  At that time, our plan was to stay in Italy for 5 weeks, but we left a week early when everything began to close down.  Finally,  as  we  learn  to  cope  with our  new pandemic  lifestyle,  we  were  able  to return  to  Il  Gattopardo, which reopened  last  week.  

On a perfect late summer afternoon, the owner Gianfranco Sorrentino, properly masked of course, greeted us with not one, but two welcoming elbow bumps, mimicking the Italian tradition of due baci, two kisses, one for each cheek.
Gianfranco had designed a lovely Italian-style sidewalk cafe outside the restaurant.

We began with an Aperol Spritz for Michele while we nibbled on crisp crusted rice balls. 

Chef Vito Gnazzo came over to say hello and make some suggestions. We decided to follow his advice.

For the first course I had octopus  salad  with  potatoes,  olives  and some  crispy  greens.

Michele had  a summer  favorite,  fresh  mozzarella  with  tomatoes, basil  and  extra  virgin  olive  oil.  It  was  just  right,  she  said,  simple and well  seasoned  and  with  no  extra  embellishment  of  balsamic  vinegar,  a pet  peeve  of  hers.

Chef Vito sent us out a taste of a very delicious pasta, linguine with zucchini, cuttlefish and shaved bottarga. It  is  an  unusual  combination and  we  enjoyed  every  bite.

For a main course, we had more pasta.  This was fregola, small bits of lightly toasted pasta from Sardinia, here cooked like risotto until creamy with tiny asparagus and chopped scallops.  Readers of this blog know that Michele and I frequently eat a variety of different pastas, but we were delighted to try these two, which were new for both of us.

With lunch we drank Fiano di Avellino DOCG 2019 DonnaChiara 100% Fiano. The soil is chalky clay and there are 4,400 plants per hectare.  The vines are guyot trained and the harvest is the second half of October. There is a soft pressing of the grapes that are quickly cooled to 50F for 4 to 6 hours. Fermentation is at 57 to 60F in steel tanks for 15 days. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. This is a delicate and elegant wine with hints of almonds, floral notes and citrus fruit. It is a real pleasure to drink and it was a perfect combination with the food. I also saw this week that Daniele Cernilli aka Dr. Wine in his  Essential Guide to the Wines of  Italy rates this wine  95/100 and I agree.

 

For dessert, we had tiny cannoli lined with chocolate with a ricotta and chocolate filling.

As if that were not enough, I couldn’t leave without ordering the Pastiera, the restaurant’s signature dessert, and a Neapolitan icon.  It is a cheesecake made with wheat, orange zest and cinnamon.  Once it was enjoyed in Naples only at Easter time, but now it is eaten all year round. It  is  a favorite  of  mine.

Biscotti and espresso ended our meal.

What a pleasure to be able to dine at Il Gattopardo once again.  Perhaps next time we will combine our visit with a stop at the Museum of Modern Art which is just across the street.

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Filed under Daniele Cernilli, Donna Chiara Winery, Fiano di Avellino, Gattopardo, Gattoprdo, Uncategorized

Wine and Food at Gattopardo with Tony Di Dio

 

Recently I posted on Facebook pictures of wine and foods I had at Gattopardo with Tony Di Dio of Tony Di Dio Selections. The response to the posting was so positive that I decided to do a blog about that lunch.

Etna Bianco “Alta Mora” DOC 2016 Cusumano (Sicily) made from 100% Carricante from 6 hectares of vines at 600 meters, the training system is espalier. The average age of the vines is 15 years.Production area is: Milo, Praino contrada, side and Castiglione di Sicily in the Verzella contrada.

Light pneumatic pressing takes place followed by static decanting and racking. Fermentation temperature controlled stainless steel tanks at 18/20 degrees C. Then the wine remains on the lees in stainless steel tanks for 4 months and successive fining in bottle. This wine has hints of citrus fruit, honey and a touch of almonds in the aftertaste.

Carricante is one of my favorite Sicilian white grapes.

Vermentino Di Maremma Toscana “Balbino” DOC 2016 Terenzi made from 100% Vermentino. The soil is rich in limestone, the training system is guyot and there are 5,000 plants per hectare. Their harvest is in the middle of September. There is a soft pressing of the grapes with a pneumatic press. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature without the skins for 12 days. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine remains in stainless steel tanks until it is bottled.

The wine has hints of citrus fruit, floral notes and a touch of herbs.

With it, we enjoyed fried artichokes with prosciutto di Parma.

Chardonnay “Felesia” d’Amico (Umbria) made from 100% Chardonnay. The vineyards are at 450 meters. The wine is aged for 10 months in first, second and third passage French oak barrels and another 5 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of almonds, honey, butter and vanilla.

We enjoyed mozzarella “in carrozza,” water buffalo milk mozzarella coated with crumbs and served with a light anchovy sauce.

Etna Rosso “Alta Mora” DOC 2015 Cusumano made from 100% Nerello Mascalese from Castiglione di Sicily, in the contradas of Verzella, Pietramarina, Feudo di Mezzo and Solicchiata. The vineyard is 12 hectares at 600/800 meters, the training system is free standing espalier and the average age of the vines is 20 years.

Manual harvest. There is a light pressing and destemming, maceration at 28 degrees C for 12 days. Malolactic fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks and successive fining in 25 hl barrels. This is a fruity aromatic red wine with hints of red fruit, currants and raspberries. It is an easy drinking wine.

Grilled octopus with oven baked fingerling potatoes

Linguette with Manila Clams and Cherry Tomatoes was thin spaghetti with briny fresh clams and sweet tomatoes.

Sangiovese Morellino di Scansano Riserva 2014 DOCG Terenzi (Tuscany) made from 100% Sangiovese. The soil is deep with coarse sand and clay, stony and well drained. Training system is cordon spur and there are 5,000 vines per hectare. Harvest is at the end of September. There is destemming and partial rupture of the grapes and then a pneumatic press is used. Fermentation lasts for 15 days in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Maceration is on the skins during alcoholic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation occurs spontaneously in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged for 12 months in tonneaux and large Slavonian oak casks and in bottle for 6 months before release. This is a full bodied, well balanced wine with hints of red berries, cloves, spice and black pepper.

Paccheri pasta with Genovese sauce. A classic Neapolitan dish, it consists of large pasta tubes in a long cooked onion sauce.

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Filed under Cusumano winery, d'Amico, Gattopardo, Terenzi WInery

Neapolitan Lunch at IL Gattopardo NYC

For my next to last birthday celebration this year, Michele and I went to Il Gattopardo.

Gianfranco Sorrentino

A meal there is like eating in southern Italy with the emphasis on Campania and Naples. Gianfranco Sorrentino, the owner, is the perfect host.

Chef  Vito Gnazzo

Vito Gnazzo, the chef, always comes out to tell us the specials and give his recommendations.

It is also one of the most comfortable restaurants in the city and the service is always excellent.

We started with a bottle of Costa D’Amalfi DOC Tramonti Bianco 2015 from Giuseppe Apicella made from 60% Falanghina and 40% Biancolella. Exposure mainly southwest, and the pergola cultivation is at 300 to 500 meters. In the new vineyards there is guyot training and between 4,000 and 5,000 plants per hectare. Pergola there is 2,500 plants per hectare. Harvest takes place the second half of October and the grapes are hand picked. After a careful selection in the vineyard, the stalks are removed and the grapes macerate with the skins before they are pressed. The must is decanted by a static cold system and selected yeasts are injected into the must. It then ferments at a low temperature. Fermentation lasts for 20 to 30 days. The wine remains on the lees for 4 to 5 months. The wine was fruity and fresh with a good structure; it had hints of tropical fruit, honey and a touch of green apple, good acidity, a long finish and pleasing aftertaste.

The restaurant sent out rice balls and escarole pie

After speaking to Vito, we ordered Buffalo Mozzarella in Carrozza with a light anchovy sauce. This is one of Michele’s favorites and she always orders it when we are in Naples. It is the ultimate toasted cheese sandwich made with sweet creamy buffalo mozzarella. The anchovy sauce is the perfect sharp counterpoint to the crisp toast and sweet cheese.

With the next two dishes we had the Brunello di Montalcino 1970 from Silvio Nardi made from 100% Sangiovese. The wine was showing its age and after 3/4 of the bottle was gone and became undrinkable.

Next we went with one of the specials Pappardelle with Rabbit and Mushroom Ragu, which was delicious.

For the main course, I had a dish I have never seen on a menu in a restaurant in Naples but is often made in people’s homes. Traditional Neapolitan meatloaf, served with mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach. This is one of my favorites.

For desert we always order the same thing: La Pastiera, a traditional Neapolitian cheesecake. Vito’s version is light and delicate, and one of the best I have ever eaten.

Il Gattopardo 13-15 W. 54th St. NY, NY
212-246-0412

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Filed under Gattopardo, Gattoprdo