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The Early Word on the Upper West Side's Leopard des Artistes

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2009 saw the closing of Cafe des Artistes, an Upper West Side icon right by Lincoln Center, which had been serving theater-goers and hungry New Yorkers alike for a century. Now in 2011, Cafe des Artistes has reopened as Leopard at des Artistes. The revamp of this classic space and chef Vito Gnazzo's Southern Italian fare has already been critiqued since their opening earlier this month. To the early word:

The Good News: An anonymous review (and the only review at the moment) on Menupages boasts beautiful atmosphere and fantastic food. "The restaurant brings you back to a different era, giving a gallery, yet romantic feeling. The food is not your typical Italian food. I don't eat meat, but my favorites are the Eggplant Timbale, Trofia, Seafood ragout w/ couscous, and Branzino (which is unlike any Branzino you've tried before. Service is attentive and warm - giving this place a perfect mix of southern Italy and early 1900s America." [Menupages]

The Bad News: Urbanspooner Pyrenees 1981 emphatically does not like the second coming of des Artistes for a slew of reasons. "Bad front of house. Waited five minutes to be greeted. Was assured I was the first to arrive. I was not. Was assured I would be fetched from the bar when my friend arrived. I was not. Thought I would be pleased that a restaurant was in the space formerly occupied by a restaurant I loved. I was not. Indifferent, disorganized, and expensive for the quality presented. New York dining at its worst." [Urbanspoon]

The Critics' News: @thecuozz slyly notes "What do UWS's new Boulud Sud & Leopard at des Artistes have in common? Owners spent fortune to open them and they're buried under scaffolds", earlier observing that "Leopard at Cafe des Artistes packed last night. W/Boulud Sud, Lincoln, Atlantic Grill, serious new critical density near Linc Center." Meanwhile, the insatiable critic "Felt crowded and disoriented by new space arrangement 4 Leopard@Cafe Des Artistes. Kitchen needs much work." [Twitter]

The Twitterific News: @Midgee1 reflects "Love the new Leopard at des Artistes, the make-over of Cafe des Artistes on W. 67th. Stunning murals restored, food great!" [Twitter]

The 'Simply Superb' News: Camillo B over on Zagat reflects on the successful reinvention. "Even though it is missing the "nostalgia" of an Art Deco icon, with exception for the murals, it is a good thing to be able to preserve such an important address and a piece of New York history. This is a way to innovate a business that is wearing out without transforming it into a fast food or another cheap shot a' la E.A.T. The investment really shows and can only wish the best to this new venture. The food, during the opening, was simply superb: the risotto with asparagus and bottarga, perfectly cooked, the "caponata" crostini juicy and crunchy. Last but not least the prosciutto San Daniele so well hand carved that reminded of the old good times. Great wines, even if the reds are a bit bodied. Great place to recommend and a large hole finally filled on the West Side.?I must say that the concept is very European, tradition driven, not bottom line, and it is exactly what Americans like when they travel to Europe; So, this is a New York testimonial of how you can do it. Rejoice!" [Zagat]

More Good News: Whom You Know files a rave: "The absolute hottest spot on the Upper West Side, the Leopard is so inviting it enticed eastsider Peachy to the other side of the park...and she could not be more pleased. Rich in both ingredients and history, The Leopard is a clearcut winner that has more than just buzz and the name of a movie." [Whom You Know]
—Caitlin Abruzzo and Jackie Goldstein

The Leopard at des Artistes

1 West 67th Street, Manhattan, NY 10023 (212) 787-8767 Visit Website

Leopard at des Artistes

1 West 67th St., New York, Ny