Category Archives: Gattoprdo

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

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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