Tuesday, February 1, 2011

SD26 at Madison Sq Park

Monday night we took advantage of Restaurant week at SD26. It has a contemporary decor, with a fun looking cocktail lounge as you enter. Walking past the bar, the dining room opens up with a cathedral ceiling, and open kitchens. There is actually a salumi and artisan cheese station as well - I think if I find myself here again, I may have to take advantage of that!

When we sat, we ordered cocktails from the specialty menu. Our server had an iPad which showed the cocktails and wines. It was a novelty, and perhaps they do have a direct link to inventory, but really kind of kludgy in practice.
I ordered the SD26 Negroni cocktail - a vodka martini with Aperol (what is that??) cucumber and lemon. Well - you know how I love me a good cucumber martini :) The first sip was acidic, sour and cucumbery, which I didn't care for. The second sip, the flavors seemed to meld together nicely. It was an enjoyable cocktail, garnished with a lemon slice attached to a cucumber slice with a toothpick - the 2 wheels looked like a double button as the toothpick threaded the wheels. Rick ordered La Verita, a rye whiskey with maple syrup, bitters and black pepper. It was fabulous! Garnished with a lemon wheel, it had a light fragrance, and a smooth finish.
When we sat at our 2 top table in the middle of the room, long home made grissini were laid in a silver basket. They were at least 18" long, and delicious! Nice breads were served, including a fresh focaccia, and a light poufy roll. This beautiful bottle of olive oil was seriously the best olive oil I've ever tasted. Beyond fruity, beyond peppery...I hope sometime I find a bottle of this lovely stuff to take home!

My appetizer was the Uovo Raviolo with truffle butter. As I sliced into the beautiful pillow of pasta, the lovely yolk ran, and the warm cheese oozed...Happy sigh! So delicious!

Rick ordered the spinach and pear salad. It was light and fresh, just what he was looking for.
My entree was the guinea hen - it is boneless, with a rich sauce including chestnuts and the poultry rested on a bed of julienned brussel sprouts. It was savory, tender and very filling! I took home about half for later.
Rick ordered the beef cheeks for dinner, and I did get a taste! Rich, thick sauce derived from the borolo broth, tender beef - it just melted in my mouth. Divine!
For dessert, I had the tiramisu - it was the classic, and very tasty. Rick had the panacotta, and it was light, fresh, and a wonderful ending to the meal.
Overall, SD26 has fabulous food. The flavors are fantastic, preparation perfect, and service efficient. The only thing that would keep me away from SD26 is the loud atmosphere. With the hard contemporary decor, there is nothing to prevent you from having your thoughts interrupted by the conversation a few tables away. Well, and the tables right next to you as well. There were lots of business deals "going down" and after work cocktails and dinner while debriefing the day. I am glad we got a chance to try the excellent cuisine, but I'm not sure we'll be back.