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Feb 3, 2000 04:52 PM

NY Restaurant Week: Patria and The Leopard

  • b

The Leopard: This was the only place at which I could get reservations a few days before Restaurant Week; more popular places filled up quickly. It's a charming but old-worldly place, lots of silk flowers, white linen, waitstaff (all men) in tuxes... Food was good, very traditional, old-school, continental "gourmet" cuisine. Had signature soup-- cream of green pea-- very pea-y, creamy. Then farfalle with prawns in saffron-lobster reduction: pasta was a bit "glucky," sauce rich but tasty of saffron and lobster, prawns (three or four good-sized ones) perfectly cooked. Signature dessert: smashed amaretti mixed with whipped cream and then frozen. Simple but good enough. Good wine, cappucino. An enjoyable meal, very much of it's type. Wouldn't be in a hurry to go again-- but hadn't expected to be bowled over, either.

Patria: I was glad I had made these reservations well in advance.
Meal started with a generous-sized mortar and pestle brought to the table with butter, sour cream and roasted garlic, which we smashed together and spread on wonderful olive bread, whole wheat or semolina rolls--mmmmm. Starter was seared scallops with a hash-like chopped bacon or Serrano-something and a starchy something else (a feeble description, I know-- sorry, I can't identify the components and just don't remember what the menu said), a cilantro mixture and mesclun next-to's. It was wonderful-- two large scallops, perfectly cooked, topping and cilantro terrific-- every bite was different, with varying combinations of the things on the plate. Perfect portion, too. Main was rib-eye steak on rice with huitlacoche. Also wonderful. Steak not huge, just enough, cooked as asked, tender, flavorful. Never had huitlacoche before, but really liked it-- there was enough of it in the rice to really get a sense of what it was like (texture reminded me of straw mushrooms, but earthier flavor). Rice was richly flavored with I don't know what else-- steak juices? Dessert: was called Mocha Granita, but was more a parfait. From the bottom up: small dollop of wonderful butterscotchy dulce de leche, then a layer of something chocolatey that was syrupy on the bottom and cakey on the top, a layer of vanilla ice cream (? or frozen whipped cream?), topped with a good amount of frozen-then-shaved espresso. GREAT. Wonderful variety of tastes, textures, combinations. I really enjoyed this meal and would definitely go back and try more things-- and it was a great value. I was happy to know that they are continuing their $20 lunch prix fixe until May 12. Go.

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  1. "I really enjoyed this meal and would definitely go back and try more things-- and it was a great value"

    i've been there twice, for dinner, and i've rarely felt more bitter than when forking out for those meals. indifferent food, way overpriced. cant quite believe its the same restaurant....have things changed so dramatically in the last year?

    2 Replies
    1. re: howler

      I focussed my report on the $20 prix fixe meal. Though there were only two choices for each course, I found the food to be tasty, well-prepared and the portions to be ample (unlike M├ętrazur). Waitstaff was pleasant and efficient (in one instance overly so, bordering on intrusive). This was definitely designed to stimulate repeat business, so perhaps they were "trying harder" but I think, in this case, it worked. I did feel our wine, though good, was a bit steep, and we wound up getting a bottle of water we didn't really intend to, so overall I do have a few reservations, but I still feel the meal was a good value and will most likely go again before May, being careful of extras. Perhaps the dinner prices are much higher? portions smaller? They weren't trying harder? weren't as busy? who can tell? In any case, sorry your experiences there were less than satisfying.

      1. re: Barb. H.

        I d like to second Barb's Patria post - my prix fixe lunch was fabulous; they are definitely on at lunch time, and as good as ever. the scallop appetizer (which had tiny bits of chorizo in its crust, along with some avocado, cheese and greens on the plate was wonderfully tasty and varied in its flavors, as was the beefy steak with rice, corn fungus and corn salsa and the fruit soup (so-called), actually a light spiced compote of diced tropical fruits with guava sorbet. This was the kind of meal where I just had to slow down and enjoy each bite, and the meal was interesting as well as delicious from beginning to end (my friend enjoyed her grilled mahi mahi or tuna, topped with greens and squid rings just as much. Brought 2 of us a pitcher of iced tea, a nice touch. One of the best $20 values in town IMHO.