San Domenico Ristorante on Central Park South was for 20 years considered one of NYC’s premier restaurants. Under the direction of owner Tony May, one of the nation’s most respected restaurateurs, it was one of the cities hardest tables to obtain a reservation at. I, however, was not a big fan of the restaurant. It was a bit stuffy and formal for my taste. Thus I was a bit skeptical when my friend Gabrio Tosti, owner of DeVino Wine Boutique, suggested we have lunch at SD26, the new iteration of San Domenico on East 26th St. As I have a great respect for Gabrio's knowledge of restaurants and wine, along with friends Emil and Alan, I went their for lunch last week. We were simply awed by the food.
|NV Ca' del Bosco|
Marisa started us with Vignarola, a Roman Spring Vegetable Stew with White Wine and Shavings of Pecorino Romano. A bit of research told me that this dish is only available for a few short weeks in April. It was a wonderful combination of artichokes, fava beans & peas in a light brodo that whispered to me, “you are in for an incredible lunch.”
|Menaica Anchovy Bruschetta|
Duo of Tuna: Carpaccio alla Pizzaiola: Green Olives & Spicy Tomato Vinaigrette; Tartare with Fresh English Peas & Smoked Sea Salt. What a remarkable combination. The tuna was pristinely fresh and the pairing was a match made in the depths of the sea.
Seared Diver Sea Scallops with Purple Potatoes, Sugar Snap Peas & Prosciutto Crisps. Cooked to perfection this is a dish I could easily indulge in daily.
With these appetizers Gabrio selected 2009 Colterenzio Schreckbichl Blauburgunder Riserva St. Daniel Pinot Noir. This was a delicious Pinot Noir from the Alto Adige region of Italy. The unmistakeable feminine character of the wine reminded me of a good Villages level Burgundy. It had an enticing earthy bouquet, pure fruit and a soft finish. A wine to be drunk young and enjoyed. A bargain at $20.
On a smaller scale were ethereal Sea Urchin filled Ravioli with Sauteed Piennolo Tomatoes and Fresh Peperoncino. These tiny pillows of homemade pasta transported me back to Sicily where I first had sea urchin with pasta.
|Linguine di Gragnan|
For the final pasta we returned to land with an awesome Fettuccine with Wild Boar Ragu’ in Agrodolce Pickled Raisins & Cocoa Nibs. Sublime.
|Marchesi Di Gresy|
I would have been a happy camper if we stopped here but the unsinkable Marisa May was by no means through. Two main course tasters were arriving at the table. Sautéed Veal Loin “Bergese”; Cipolline Onions and Asparagus with a Smoked Pancetta Cream Sauce and Barolo Wine Braised Beef Cheeks with Cardamom – Carrot Puree, Spring Onion & Grilled Polenta. OMG! These plates sung with pure flavors derived from great ingredients cooked simply. The veal may have been the best piece I have yet to taste. Along with these great entrees, Gabrio selected a 2008 Marchesi Di Gresy Barbaresco Martinenga. While still young the wine had great fruit and balance and drank very well at this young age and will for many years to come. $46.
Despite my cries of "uncle" Marisa presented us with 4 decadent and delicious desserts to conclude our meal. They included Tiramisu with Espresso Sauce; Pannacotta with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction & Strawberries; Extra Bitter Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Gelato and, my favorite, Babà au Rhum with Whipped Cream and Orange Sauce. Gabrio selected a bottle of Colutta Verduzzo Friulano Colli Orientali DOC from Friuli Vezezia Giulia. Made from 100% Verduzzo grapes this was a fruity & delicious sweet white wine with undertones of apples and pears. It went perfect with our dolci and espresso.
It was truly a great lunch and I hope to return to SD26 soon.