What connects a Manhattan restaurant, a work of historical fiction, and an old Burt Lancaster film? It’s not just in the name.

I suspect the link has a lot to do with a romantic and profound attachment to heritage and a fierce dedication to quality. At least that’s what ran through my mind during my lunch at Il Gattopardo last week.

It started with this: parmigiana of zucchini, smoked mozzarella, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. A very good way to start.

And continued with a pasta dish: paccheri (typical Neapolitan artisanal pasta) in a rich sauce made from pork ribs.

And ended with a beautiful Pastiera, that most classic of Neapolitan desserts, a ricotta cake with lemony-orangey overtones.

An earthquake registering 10.8 on the Richter scale couldn’t have pulled me away from the table.

The menu at Il Gattopardo is southern Italian in the way that may surprise some Americans accustomed to the ubiquitous red-checkered tablecloth variety of Southern Italian fare. Here the ingredients and flavors are certifiably of the Amalfi Coast, but enhanced by the the creativity of Executive Chef Vito Gnazzo who never veers far from the roots of his native Salerno.

Located a few doors away from MOMA, Il Gattopardo is under the watchful eye of owner Gianfranco Sorrentino from Naples.

So… as for the novel and the film, I highly recommend them, but nothing trumps a great meal in my book.

Il Gattopardo
33 W. 54th St.
New York, NY 10019
PH: 212 246-0412

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