I’m never one to turn down anything related to Italian food. I feel like I should have a ravioli named after me at this point given the tons of pasta I’ve ingested over my lifetime. Il Gattopardo is another fabulous example of Italian cuisine… but with a twist that involves the usage ancient grains in their dishes that take everything they make to a whole new culinary level.
Il Gattopardo is located in the heart of Midtown West on 13-15 W. 54th Street, blocks away from several different subway options. What’s great is that its tucked away downstairs on a very busy street which makes this sort of a hidden gem of sorts and one that I’m very excited to write about.
The location inside, which is downstairs from street level, is posh, sophisticated and elegance all wrapped up in one. Come dressed nicely to Il Gattopardo to really immerse yourself in the rich beauty of its location. Not only that but the wait staff is incredibly knowledgeable and friendly, which only made the experience that much better.
What makes Il Gattopardo different from the other 900+ Italian restaurants in NYC is that New York Times’ 2-star Executive Chef, Vito Gnazzo, takes the time to grow and source authentic ingredients directly from Italy each season. Il Gattopardo uses Italian Ancient Grains like Kamut, Wheat Berries, Amaranth, Bulgar, Millet, and Farro which are high in nutrition and serve as a healthy alternative to refined grains.
It’s an interesting concept as I’ve never really thought of grains like this being that heavily involved in Italian items. Chef Vito expertly perfects them which was evident in the items that he presented to me and my friend during our time there recently.
For instance, I would marry the Farro lasagna “di Carnevale” with mini meatballs, ricotta and smoked mozzarella. Holy moly what a great take on a classic Italian dish with the Farro and all the other ingredients. Yum.
The grains are a hit but so are many of their other dishes that aren’t grain-specific.
Standouts for me and my friend that night were their Tomato and Cucumber Salad with red onions and aged ricotta cheese, garnished with oregano from Cilento, Grilled Octopus with oven baked fingerling potatoes, celery hearts and Castelvetrano olives and their Codfish “in casseruola” with Gaeta olives, capers, cherry tomatoes and organic potatoes. All different items that still packed a punch of flavor and so much more that made this meal very memorable.
I would recommend Il Gattopardo to anyone that has good taste when it comes to cuisine, decor and more.
For more information on Il Gattopardo, please check out their official website.