The Leopard at des Artistes
Although there's a new name on the door of the Upper West Side's Cafe Des Artistes, The Leopard has kept the important stuff intact. Howard Chandler Christy's murals are a sight to see, and not just because the "nymphs" that are depicted are sure to elicit a scandalous snicker or two. (Nymphs sure looked a lot like topless showgirls when these things were done in 1935.) The paintings have been restored, and they look marvelous. The menu has been given a complete overhaul—it's now a selection of Italian cuisine that highlights numerous regions of the country. Look for dishes like rigatoni with sautéed eggplant and aged ricotta or a Mediterranean branzino with baby vegetables and olive oil. The restaurant may transmit old-world class, and it ain't cheap. Save it for special occasions (like when the parents are in town and footing the bill).