19 East 26th Street
Madison Square Park North
New York, NY 10010
Hours SD26 Wine Bar & Lounge
11:30am – midnight Monday through Sunday
Lunch 11:30am – 2:30 pm Monday through Friday
Dinner 5:30 – 11:00 pm Monday through Saturday
Dinner 5:00 – 10:00 pm Sunday
Cuisine Contemporary Italian cuisine
Wine List More than 10,000 bottles with an emphasis on Italian selections
Credit Cards Visa, Mastercard & American Express
Restaurant Overview Total seating capacity: 299+
On three levels
70-seat Wine Bar and Lounge
138-seat Main Dining Room
Exhibition Kitchen with 8-seat Chef’s Table
Salumi and Cheese Display
60/120-seat, Private Dining Rooms
Lower Level and Wine Cellar
Connoisseur Wine Room for private dining
Executive Chef Matteo Bergamini (Photo credit Beatriz Cifuentes)
SD26 REINVENTS ITSELF AT MADISON SQUARE PARK
Interior Photo Credit Beatriz Cifuentes
After a 20 year run, Tony May and his daughter Marisa have moved and morphed their celebrated restaurant-icon to a stunning location on East 26th Street at Madison Square Park, fusing authentic Italian flavors with a striking, modern setting.
SD26 is the first American restaurant created by internationally-acclaimed Italian designer Massimo Vignelli, who took the 14,000 square foot raw space and created a tri-level restaurant featuring rich colors of gold and red, artwork from renowned fiber artist Sheila Hicks, and secluded alcoves for guests and VIPs to gather. Offering guests multiple dining and drinking settings, SD26 features a 70-seat wine bar and lounge; a 138-seat dining room with imported prosciutto and cheese, hand-cut to order; an exhibition kitchen, and Chef’s Table for up to 8 guests. Upstairs, a 65-seat private dining mezzanine overlooks the dining room. A 14-seat private wine cellar downstairs features an esteemed collection of vintage and special format bottles from Italy’s top producers.Upon entering SD26, guests are greeted by a 24-bottle enomatic system offering 1, 2 or 4 ounce pours of red and white selections, ensuring that every glass tastes as fresh as the first poured, while surrounded by sweeping views of Madison Square Park.
Interior Photo Credit Beatriz Cifuentes
Executive Chef Matteo Bergamini features a menu of contemporary Italian cuisine. Rather than focusing on one particular region of Italy and sticking to the rigid format of appetizer, pasta, entree, dessert, the menu invites diners to eat as they wish with all dishes served in small or large portions. Knockouts include, perfectly timed Imported White Asparagus topped with a Baby Egg and Summer Truffles (a special), a variety of incredible Artesian Hams and Cold Meats (favorites include Pata Negra from Spain, Culatello, Center Cut Of Prosciutto, Aged 18 Months from Emiglia Romagna and Guanciale pork cheeks cured with spices, rosemary and garlic and Lard, thick pork fat cured with herbs, salt and pepper). All House-Made Breads are to die for.
Other options offer the best Veal Sweetbreads in Coffee Essence Olive Oil And Baby Turnips imaginable, melt in your mouth Beef Cheeks ,Braised In Red Wine, with Onion Marmalade and San Domenico classics like Soft Egg-Yolk filled Ravioli with Truffled Butter and Pappardelle with wild boar ragu.
Lovers of the offal will adore splendid renditions of Tuscan Tripe with cannellini beans and tomato (from the bar menu) and a Thursday lunch special: bollito misto, the ultimate boiled dinner.
At lunch, SD26 offers an Il Quadrifoglio menu for guests to enjoy a nutritionally balanced, one-course meal of four individual dishes designed to provide an optimal balance of ingredients.
We chose an early Saturday night dinner to experience SD26 and loved the look, which managed to woo and wow, while retaining a warm intimate feeling. We had a wonderfully comfortable banquette with a full view of the striking open kitchen. Despite the high ceilings, the sound level was gentle on the ear. (Some nights there is live music).
The service staff is young, enthusiastic, beautifully trained and guiding. With a well constructed cocktail, we delighted in navigating the hi-tech wine selection. (leave your iPhone apps at home). The expansive SD26 wine list of more than 10,000 bottles is presented using the state-of-the-art Smartcellar system and wireless digital menu. The list features hand-selected, well-known and newly discovered wines with a strong influence from Italy and selections from France and California.
An interesting compensation arrived in the person of the inspired wine director, Maurizio Antolini, who honored our requests: Italian, red, offbeat grape, full body, soft tannins and compatible acid. Although we enjoy Super Tuscans and Barolos, we requested he look for the wines he considered the most interesting and offering the best value.
He returned with three bottles and was keen on the Sagrantino di Montefalco Taccalite Tiburzi, 2006 from Umbria. In the $100 range (about double its retail price), it was a glorious specimen, with a deep purple color, earthy tannins and medium-full body. 15 minutes in the glass and it was heaven. (Highly recommended).
The Miraculous Uovo di Raviolo Above (Signature dishes photo credit Joshua Bright)
Desserts and cheese dazzle. We adored a crunchy Chocolate hazelnut bar with orange emulsion and the lightest Pannacotta with balsamic vinegar reduction and strawberries. But I am a cheese freak and chose a selection of cheese as well.They were superb; served room temperature and in perfect condition. Cookies and espresso made the ideal finish.
SD26 shimmers with a youthful crowd enjoying the fabulous food, warm greeting and NY-style international atmosphere. Tony May was the first to introduce New Yorker’s to genuine Italian cuisine. As the the definition of Italian food has grown, so has May’s awareness of retaining integrity, while keeping up with global gastronomic evolution. That, above all, is why SD26 is New York’s best Italian restaurant.
The Not-To-Be-Missed Chitarra (Signature dishes photo credit Joshua Bright)