The ‘Sophia Loren’ Is New York’s Most Elegant New Sundae

Espresso gelato and homemade meringue, all to share.

Chefs use all sorts of inspiration for dishes. It might be something as simple as an ingredient they want to feature, or a painting that prompts a new style of presentation. For a new dessert at Leuca, the brand-new Italian restaurant in Brooklyn’s William Vale hotel, chefs Andrew Carmellini and Jason Casey went with something a little more conceptual. Imagine, if you will, it is the 1960s, you’re well-dressed and sitting at an Italian restaurant. By some stroke of luck, you have managed to convince Sophia Loren to be your date. What would you order for dessert in a situation like that?

The answer: a sundae built for two that involves espresso gelato, chocolate sauce, caramel crumble, meringue, rum granita, whipped cream, and an extra shot of espresso, poured at the table affogato-style, all served in a wide-mouthed glass coupe. Fittingly, the name even pays tribute to the iconic Italian actress; the menu simply lists the dessert as “the Sophia Loren for Two,” and it will run you a cool $14. You’ll want some kind of digestivo to go with it.

Of course, there is more to Leuca than gelato, and the menu includes all kinds of things that people love: smoked beets with ricotta salata and hazelnuts, razor clams with salsa verde, and a selection of “southern Italian dips” like ricotta with hot honey. There are pastas, including sea-urchin spaghetti (always a favorite) and a raviolo filled with duck egg. Wood-baked pizza options include a classic margherita and the broccili-rabe-topped Goomah. There’s also hanger steak, a mixed grill of lamb, and even a roasted chicken, for two, if you want to see how dish-sharing goes before you move on to dessert.

The whole thing is open to the public as of tonight, so plan accordingly and take a look at some food, as well as the very nice-looking space, in the meantime:

Tuna crudo, green olives, chili, crispy farro. Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman
Burrata agnolotti with marjoram and Pecorino Ragusana. Photo: Liz Clayman
The Goomah pizza with ricotta and broccoli rabe. Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman
Lemon chicken for two with blistered peppers. Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman
Swanky. Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman
Swankier. Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman
Swankiest: a secluded booth by the kitchen. Photo: Liz Clayman/Liz Clayman

This post has been updated to reflect a new price on the sundae.

The ‘Sophia Loren’ Is NYC’s Most Elegant New Sundae