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May 23, 2011 08:52 AM

Leopard at des Artistes - pretty great

We had an 8pm reservation last night to celebrate our third anniversary. Cafe des Artistes had been one of my husband's favorite restaurants, and we have a lot of great memories there.

We showed up a bit early, 7:45ish, and were seated immediately.

We were happy to see that the murals have been in large part preserved, although the decor is now a lot brighter. The white walls are nice, but the white floor looks a little cheap, and a lot less homey.

For a later Sunday night dinner, the restaurant was pretty busy, we thought, with only a few empty tables.

The service was excellent, from the maître d' to the waiters. Very attentive and friendly. We were brought bread with olive oil immediately. The raisin bread was quite good. .

My husband started with the asparagus soup, which he said was good, but not great.

We ordered the dry aged prime rib for two, medium rare, with a side of mashed potatoes. The steak also came with fries.

They brought the steak out on an ENORMOUS platter for us to see, and then they cut it up for presentation. There was a ton of meat, more than we could ever have eaten. It was cooked a little rarer than we had anticipated, but that was fine by us. It was also served with an excellent roasted bone marrow, and rosemary fries. The fries (and the mashed potatoes) were fine, nothing outstanding. The steak WAS outstanding, however, and we ended up eating more than we should have.

We finished with the chocolate lava cake with chocolate ice cream, which was small, but good. If we had been hungrier, we would have been disappointed to have had to share it.

All in all, we were pretty impressed. I realize that we skipped the entire "Italian food" part of the menu, but we will give it a shot next time, because there will definitely be a next time.

I hope the review is okay... it's my first time writing one.

The Leopard at des Artistes
1 W 67th St, New York, NY 10023

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  1. Thanks for the review. Is there a dress code? I vaguely recall having to wear a jacket at the old Cafe Des Artistes.

    I'm glad that they preserved the murals. Let us know if you go back for the Italian menu. Happy Anniversary!

    1. A very nicely written, detailed review for a first effort, room317.

      Question: Did the menu indicate that the prime rib came with fries? Seems odd that you would have ordered a side of mashed if it did.

      3 Replies
      1. re: RGR

        Yeah, it did. My husband wanted the mashed potatoes, though, and they wouldn't substitute.

        1. re: room317

          So, you're paying $90 for a ribeye for two, and they've got a no substitution policy about the potatoes? Outrageous! Obviously, they don't believe in customer service.

          I see that they have meatloaf with mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach on the menu for $24. Since ordering the mashed as a side cost $8, I would have ordered the meatloaf as well, eaten the mashed, and had them doggie box the meatloaf and the spinach.

          1. re: RGR

            RGR - I like the way you think!

      2. do they still have that small 10-seat bar in the back?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Simon

          I think my friend who was there the other night said they'd redone the bar & booth area in the back.

          1. re: Jane A.

            uh-oh...(<<fears change>>)...did your friend say redone how?...

            1. re: Simon

              From Florence Fabricant: "The restaurant has been somewhat reconfigured by moving the bar. And the floors in the main dining room are now stone."


        2. How is the bar as I want to pop in on my next visit ........

          2 Replies
          1. re: bronwen

            According to Sifton:

            "The only awkward spot is the bar, once one of Manhattan’s great dark-and-quiet cuckolding spots. It has tragically been brightened in its move from the south wall to the north, and is the one space in the restaurant that may be said to have been too modernized."

            But anyway, two stars.


            1. re: H Manning

              Well, that is what I dispiriting. But I'll give it a try when next in town. Probably should bring a hankie.