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  • Casa Lever, Midtown Manhattan, New York City   
  • The Warhol Wall at Casa Lever, comprising 32 private-owned portraits   
  • Courtyard seating at the Lever House  
  • Hamachi from Casa Lever's raw bar  
  • Roasted green circle of chicken with zucchini, pickled red onion, and tarragon    
  • Giorgio Armani (1981)  
  • Rudolf Nureyev (1975)  
  • Jerry Hall (1984)

07/17/14 Casa Lever, New York

At the landmarked Lever House building on Park Avenue, fine Italian restaurant Casa Lever boasts Warhols on the walls and craftily plated Milanese staples from its menu. Owned by the Sant Ambroeus chain of restaurants in Manhattan and the Hamptons, Casa Lever has become a center of taste, both with its culinary and cultural offerings.

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Open for summer from April to October, the restaurant’s courtyard seating allows diners al fresco enjoyment of zingy antipasti and cocktails while admiring rotating exhibitions from the Lever House art collection. Currently on exhibit are Urs Fischer’s mirror box installations, where everyday objects (a banana, pencil, Tic-Tacs) are photographed from five vantage points and set in boxes “crafted with thin mirror, so that the illusion of reality can persist,” says curator Richard Marshall.

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While silkscreened pop art reflected on mirror glass is compelling, the crowd gathered along Casa Lever’s lengthy leather banquette proves to be more so. And not the genteel assortment picking at their tuna tartare but the star-spangled portraits mounted on the walls.

Among 32 subjects rendered in Andy Warhol’s signature saturation are icons like Aretha Franklin, Rudolf Nureyev, and Dennis Hopper—an assembly lent by building co-owner Aby Rosen and collector Alberto Mugrabi, both regulars at the restaurant. Of course, there’s nothing like art to stimulate an appetite, even in the cold heart of Midtown Manhattan.