Dining and Art
Chef Leonardo Marino taking a break during a recent lunch rush; “Three Figures,” a monotype by Claudia Mengel
Longtime favorite New American restaurant Napa & Co. welcomes a new chef, Leonardo Marino, who brings big energy and culinary talent to the downtown eatery. Marino developed his craft over years working alongside master chefs: Jean Georges, David Bouley and Eric Ripert of Le Bernadin. But he’s quick to note the influence of his mother and aunt too, amazing home cooks who inspired some of his additions to the menu.
Napa devotees will be happy to know that Marino has delicately carved out the updated menu, leaving classics like the Wagyu burger, duck & foie gras meatballs, charred calamari and other signatures intact. Marino brought back the much-loved braised veal with a twist, pairing it with heavenly, light ricotta gnocchi. Farm-fresh fare plays a big role, but Marino has a balanced approach. “I’m into local ingredients but I’m not going to say no to something really good from somewhere else just to say I’m a locavore,” he says. “At the end of the day, it’s about putting the best on the plate.” Cases in point: a charred octopus with tagliatelle sepia, chorizo oil and muscatel vinegar, a refreshing blend of flavors and textures that he calls “a little bit of Spain on the plate,” and his roasted heirloom chicken, a spin-off of his mother’s chicken cacciatore.
Of course, Napa remains an oenophile’s paradise with tasting flights, an interactive iPad wine list for searching by country, varietal or flavor profile, and descriptions that leave wine snobbery in the dust: “A big cab, a bad-ass cab, a bold cab—we love ’em all!” And Marino is launching a chef’s tasting menu that pairs five courses with outstanding wines, “to give your taste buds a complete workout.”
Give the Gift of Art
Just north of the Stamford border, you can find great gift ideas at the recently renovated Lionheart Gallery in Pound Ridge, New York, now sporting a dramatic new look, and focusing on top-drawer contemporary art. Within the spacious new gallery, under new ownership, you’ll see paintings, prints, collages, sculpture and art books, plus unusual works on paper and black and white photography. Also on view is the exhibition Paintings and Monotypes by Claudia Mengel, Wire and Bronze Sculpture by Mihail, and documentary photography of New York street scenes circa the l940s and 1950s, by Vivian Cherry, from her book Helluva.