When is the last time that a radiant leopard met its match with an eggtacular protein brunch? At Fashion Week.
For somewhere along the blurring lines of dreams and ambition, food, fashion and fitness definitely do collide in euphoric celebration.
Being a leopard print addict, it’s no surprise that seeking a fashionable brunch on a sparkling Sunday of New York Fashion Week took me to The Leopard at des Artistes. Located in the high end Upper West Hotel des Artistes, the tree clad street was rather atypical for a concrete New York. Just two blocks away from Central Park, this old fashioned A-list celebrity spotting place had the ambiance that instantly whisked luxe diners away from the urgent, impatient lifestyle of the city.
Restaurateurs Gianfranco and Paula Sorretino transported their Italian Il Gattapardo into New York while retaining an old-school, nostalgic aura of Italian romance. The ambiance was clean and airy, with classic white tablecloth coated walnut tables and cris cross straw chairs. Des Artistes murals of doe eyed nymphs and naked goddesses glistened in the sun that shown through long, vertical, renaissance style windows, as they played in painted fantasy.
The severely strong signature Neapolitan Martini constituted of Limoncello, vodka, Campari and a Grand Marnier orange, which definitely knocked my fashion soaked eyeballs out of their sockets and popped them back in – awake, refreshed and shocked. New York momentarily won the punchy cocktail battle over Paris!
The Fashion Week menu by Chef Gnazzo paid obvious homage to its namesake and offered a brunch that was very New Yorker at heart. And while waiting for my egg on egg meal, I gaped at the solid silver and granite leopard, mid prance across the restaurant’s wooden windowsills.
The bread basket was ordered twice, owing to its sumptuous olive bread and the breathtaking Italian biscuit sticks, which I nibbled on relentlessly, barely ever dipping them into the olive oil.
To start with was a succulent organic spinach and ricotta frittatina, perfectly salty and hearty in texture. Warm and crispy, golden brown where fighting with heat, the spinach peaked out at irregular intervals on what seemed like a Utah like desert textural terrain that was salivating to gobble. Probably the best omelet frittata like egg dish I’ve had in recent brunch outings.
Next came a very Americano plate of classic eggs benedict with Hollandaise sauce and roasted red potatoes. Talk about being on a protein packed fitness regimen! The best thing was the paprika and Cajun style sprinkling on the potatoes, which, in addition to being carb heavy for a fashion week brunch, seemed more southern than New York. The eggs benedict duo was nothing short of perfect, but also not distinctive enough to merit a repeat.
Atmosphere was clearly the forte of the place, since even when sitting idle, I noticed that the sunlight streamed through the sparkling windows onto a pile of leopard books like “The Last Leopard” and “The Leopard”, dusty enough to add to the misty atmosphere, and topped with a gnawing shell that spelled out holiday.
Dessert was my obvious mandatory order and a winning favorite. A golden citrus cheesecake arrived with a deep purple blueberry sorbet and tart berry compote. The cheesecake was velvety with just a hint of citrus, while the compote was almost overpoweringly sour, balancing oh so well with the chill of the sorbet that was in direct juxtaposition to the sun glaring in through the long windows. A perfect sugary end to a protein packed brunch.
Like a svelte leopard, I was glad that my day of gaping at the wild met with a momentary but hearty hunt of protein. For right after this luxury brunch, I slithered straight back to the tents to continue doing what I did best: people watching. Something that I believe leopards were impeccable at too.
Here’s to hoping that an energy inducing meal at The Leopard had transformed me into my favorite feline friend for a fashionable day ahead.