The Leopard at des Artistes, formerly known as the Cafe des Artistes, has a new menu and on a recent beautiful October day, Michele and I went to try it. The chef is Jonathan Frosolone and he has added some exciting new Italian dishes that we had never tried before. We started with glasses of sparkling wine from Benevento.
Benepop Vol.1”Benepop Ancestrale” Sparkling wine made from 50% Falanghina and 50% Fiano Terre di Briganti The two varietals are separately processed from the beginning. The hand harvested grapes are carried to the cellar in 18kg bins and then double sorted, destemmed and then pressed. The must clarifies itself with static gravity in stainless steel vats where it ferments with only the help of the indigenous yeast at controlled temperatures. The partially sweet wine is left to refine on its lees for about 6 months. At the beginning of the Spring the wine is bottled. The natural increase of the temperature favors the resumption of the fermentation inside the bottle and the yeast eats all the sugar in excess. It is recommended to suspend the natural sediment in the bottle before consuming it in order to fully enjoy this fun wine. Just gently turn the bottle upside down. The winery is certified organic and is biodynamic. This a a dry sparkling wine hints of citrus fruit, green tropical fruit, grapefruit and it is a very pleasant wine to drink.
Antipasti–We tried several
Pesce in Carpione- Marinated luccio (pike), white wine vinaigrette, fennel, crispy capers–A light and refreshing starter.
Quaglia Ripiena- Quail, pork sausage, and red wine poached figs. The quail was stuffed with sausage and figs and glazed in slightly sweet sauce. I could eat a plte of these.
Pallott Cacio e Uova- Pecorino and egg croquettes, garlic, basil. Cheesey balls of bread in a delicious tomato sauce. Our helpful waiter told us they are a specialty of his region of Abruzzo.
Sformato di Tartufo Nero — Black truffle custard with arugula and parmigiano reggiano cheese. These is a seasonal interpretation of a springtime favorite.
Terre Del Volturo IGT 2018 Nanni-Cope Made from 85% Fiano, 12% Asprinio and 3% Pallagrello Bianco. The wine is aged in 500 liter barrels for about 8 months. The wine has hints of eucalyptus, hazelnut, apricot and lemongrass with good acidity.
Agnolotti-Robiola, Parmigiano Reggiano and rosemary butter sauce. A lucious blend of cheeses, butter and tender pasta.
Struncatura–Multigrain spaghettoni, shrimp, neonata, lemon — A unique pasta from Southern Italy, made from several different types of grain including wheat and rye. It is thick and chewy, and it was complemented by the neonata and shrimp.
Raviolo Alla Piastra- Beets, poppy seeds, brown buttered sage sauce fill this unusual type of raviolo. After stuffing the pasta is grilled which gives it a toasty flavor that went well with the sweet flavor of the beets.
Taurasi “Radici” 1998 Mastroberardino made from 100% Aglianico. The vineyards for Taurasi “Radici” are located on two hills, Mirabella vineyard at 500 meters and the Montemarano vineyard at 550 meters. Because of its position on the hill and its altitude, the temperature at the Montemarano vineyard is much colder and the grapes are picked a little later. Harvest is from the end of October into the beginning of November. The vinification is the classic one for red wine, long maceration with skin contact at controlled temperatures. The wine is aged for 24 months in French barriques and Slovenian oak barrels and remains in the bottle for 24 months before release. The barriques were second and third passage. This is a wine with hints of black cherry, plum, spice and a touch of leather. It was fantastic.
Salmerino-Roasted sea trout, topped with charred scallions, trout roe, aged balsamic vinegar. The skin was crispy and the flesh moist and perfectly cooked. A great combination of flavors.
Anatra- Roasted duck breast, chestnuts, pears and spinach. The duck was perfectly cooked and crowned an assortment of seasonal ingredients.
Zabaione- Zabaione al Ramandolo with seasonal fruits made tableside. A classic dessert that is always a treat.
Mousse di Ciocolato–Dark Chocolate mousse, white chocolate garnish and orange. The mousse was coated in dark chocolate. A little touch of chocolatey goodness to finish our meal.
Owner Gianfranco Sorrentino and Chef Jonathan Frosolone.
.We finished this wonderful meal with Digestivi. Congratulations to the chef, the staff and Gianfranco for another great meal. What a way to welcome the fall!