About Il Gattopardo
Sophisticated Italian standby offering Neapolitan cuisine in a sleek bi-level space with an atrium.
Chef Vito Gnazzo lights up tiny Il Gattopardo and its ivy-draped garden with rustic classics from Naples and its surround, like the cabbage-wrapped meatballs and Neapolitan meat loaf encircling hard-boiled egg with olive mashed potatoes. An expat pal from Naples is shocked to find Gnazzo's braised baby escarole filled with minced black olive, anchovy, and pine nuts ''better even than my mom's.'' Indeed, Vito's wife, Concetta, forms the tiny cavatelli herself (using her pinky). Paccheri is local dialect for wide bands of artisanal pasta, served here in an oniony meat sauce Naples calls Genovese (alas, the meat's too tough). Locals who know this Sette MoMA seedling come by Wednesdays between September and June for suckling pig with delicious broccoli rabe. The ricotta-and-wheat torta called pastiera is a rare find, but lemon sorbetto seems a saner choice after this feast.