SD26 Sets A New Standard For Contemporary Italian Fine Dining. Rating: A Major

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19 East 26th Street

Madison Square Park North

New York, NY 10010

Telephone 212.265.5959

Fax 212.399.5672

Email SD26NY@SD26NY.com

Website www.SD26NY.com

Hours SD26 Wine Bar & Lounge

11:30am – midnight Monday through Sunday

Dining Room

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

sd26booth Owners / Operators Tony May & Marisa May (Photo Credit Robert Caplin)

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

Ground Floor

70-seat Wine Bar and Lounge

138-seat Main Dining Room

Exhibition Kitchen with 8-seat Chef’s Table

Salumi and Cheese Display

Upper Level

60/120-seat, Private Dining Rooms

Lower Level and Wine Cellar

Connoisseur Wine Room for private dining

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Executive Chef Matteo Bergamini (Photo credit Beatriz Cifuentes)

SD26 REINVENTS ITSELF AT MADISON SQUARE PARK

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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.

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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.

Salumeria cured meats.
Tony and daughter Marisa May's restaurant at 19 East 26th Street on Madison Square Park in Manhattan, Tuesday November 24th, 2009. A Selection Of Hand Cut Gems (Signature dishes photo credit Joshua Bright)

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).

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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. 

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The Not-To-Be-Missed Chitarra (Signature dishes photo credit Joshua Bright)

 

Copyright 2010 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved.

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Classic and Signature Tapas At El Porron: Una Tasca Moderna

porron wine

El Porron is located at 1123 First Avenue at 61st Street and is open for lunch and dinner on Sunday to Thursday from 12 PM – 11PM and on Friday to Saturday from 12 PM – 12AM. For reservations, please call 212-207-8349.

 

 

Authentic Spanish Cuisine Hits The Upper East Side

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If you’ve never used a porron before, just look at the exuberant how-to photos lining the walls of El Porron, This amazing Spanish Tasca. The latest project by Gonzalo “Mr. G” Bermeo of Long Island City’s much-loved El Boqueron,

An ode to the Catalan blown-glass vessel that pours wine through a point spout that leads directly into your mouth, El Porron is decidedly a family affair, conceived by Mr. G with his son and front-of-house director, Diego (an astonishing knowledgeable and professional young man) and executed with the teamwork of his Poconos-based restaurateur brother, Mario. porron 2interior%202

The Sparklingly Attractive Dining Room (Above) Supports Fine Dining in the True Sense of the Word

At the heart of its mission, El Porron aims to recreate the best of Spain’s culinary and cultural offerings, all from its brick-walled, contemporarily outfitted slice of the Upper East Side. After traveling their native Spain extensively, Mr. G and Diego broke down their experiences and translated them to a New York state of mind: An endless array of Spanish wine bottles lining the restaurant’s shelves and bar, There are lovely flowers, comfortable banquettes, and terrific lighting. Service is warm and helpful.

Regional dishes to exemplify the country’s broad offerings, and a meticulous sense of authenticity and pride in developing the menu and wine list’s unconventional offerings. Don’t let the reasonable prices deceive you. El Porron is a class act.

A night at El Porron may start with cold tapas, then hot—stay for entrees and paella or linger longer for a flight of Spanish wines and sangrias.

Open the appetite with the Escalibada al Estilo de la Abuela, a cold salad of roasted eggplant, red peppers, sweet onions and salted cod, all with a lightly pickled flavor at once sweet, tangy, and refreshing. Queso manchego con membrillo kicks up a classic combo of cheese and quince by piling it onto raisin pecan bread—a sweet and salty number with real pizzazz. porron calamares%20al%20ajillo

Hot tapas benefit from Mr. G’s love affair with sauces. A best-seller of calamares al ajillo (Above) sounds no different from other versions until it arrives at the table: whole, pillowy tubules of fresh baby squid redolent of the white wine and garlic flavors that explode on the palette with unusual brightness. It’s impossible to resist sopping up the briny, spicy wine sauce with the bread alongside. Pulpo a la Gallega, a traditional dish from Galicia, is equally addicting, with sliced chunks of tender octopus, spicy and sweet, slathered in a sauce of house-made Spanish pimenton and Mediterranean sea salt.

Those who prefer dishes from the land—admittedly a minority in Spain—will find good company at El Porron, where traditional albondigas de ternera, or veal meatballs, are among the best that the city has to offer. Impossibly tender with the crunch of slivered almonds atop, they’re served in a clay dish filled with the leek, carrot, celery and tomato stew that gives them their delicately balanced flavor.

A baby Lamb Chop (special) was available in both tapas or entree portion ($15 or $28). It was tender and succulent. Let’s hope it becomes a regular.

Some favorites can be ordered as tapas portions or entrees, such as the Vieras con Tocino, or bacon-topped scallops—a Navarran classic. Covered in a bacon crumble rather than getting the more typical wrap-around treatment, they’re a delicate pleasure served in a velvety white asparagus sauce whose earthiness makes an unexpected pair for the mostly oceanic flavors. Also a surprise? The grilled tiger shrimp, or gambas a la plancha—they traditionally eat the shells in Spain, which explains the amazing concentration of sweetly charred flavor on their crispy exterior.

Heartier entrees include a Pollo con Pisto—the Spanish take on ratatouille—with eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and onion atop a juicy portion of grilled chicken breast. Salmon Fresco a la Plancha makes for a lovely summertime treat as well: the farm-raised catch gets a pick-me-up from a citrus-berry reduction to contrast its natural fishiness.

Adventurous souls must order the Mollejas Al Espuma De Cava Y Ajo * crispy sautéed sweetbreads in a garlic & cava reduction, served over julienned seasonal roasted vegetables and the miraculous Callos Madrilenos mildly spicy stew of braised tripe, chorizo, pig’s feet, morcillo & assorted traditional meats-a madrid classic that puts the French version to shame.

The whole spread can be washed down with a bottle of wine or a few glasses apiece—either way, the all-Spanish list contains an abundance of rare varietals that aren’t to be missed. Txakolina is a Basque favorite—an up-and-coming, hard-to-find effervescent wine that’s drunk as commonly as water abroad. Albarino, a grape whose popularity is just starting to climb here in the States, comes in three varieties at El Porron, making for a fascinating tasting flight by the glass. Prefer more traditional Spanish reds like Tempranillo, Rioja, or Garnacha? They’re all on the list, available by the bottle or the glass, hand-picked by Diego after extensive tasting throughout Spain’s best vineyards. (Check out Monastrell (Mourvedre) hails from Yecla, a small and rather obscure wine region in Southeastern Spain, near Jumilla. Very dark reddish-purple in color, it shows almost a bluish cast and an off-beat white, incorporating a blend of five local grapes, producing a sprightly and engaging food companion.

Whichever route you go, save room for dessert, which, in keeping with the theme, brings some of Spain’s less-exported traditions stateside. Favorites include the Flan de Mocca, a coffee-infused flan made with Colombian coffee, and the Torrejas, or strips of French toast soaked in Rioja and caramelized to a brulee-like exterior.

It’s all executed by Mr. G himself, drawing on his 25+ years in the business beginning at El Cid and most recently culminating at El Boqueron, where the influences of his once-mentor Clemente Boscos and other notable Spanish chefs earned him his reputation as a tapas authority in his own right. The emphasis is on sauces that amplify the scope of traditional tapas preparations, making them more exotic, exciting, and compelling as a whole

One of the few restaurants in this area of town that dares to break the tried-and-true Italian mold, El Porron brings serious Spanish food and wine to lucky residents of the upper east side and lays claim to being the finest Spanish kitchen in New York City.

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Torrejas, or strips of French toast soaked in Rioja (Above)

Copyright 2010 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved.

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Renowned Chef David Burke to be Culinary Director for Bowlmor’s Newest Location – Bowlmor Times Square

Bowlmor announced their collaboration with New York City’s renowned chef and restaurateur, David Burke. Burke will play an integral role in the company’s latest project; a 90,000 square foot, 50-lane venue in the heart of Times Square, set to open in Fall 2010.

As Culinary Director, Burke will use his innovative and playful culinary expertise to create a menu for Bowlmor Times Square’s stand-alone restaurant, The Gray Lady. His unique approach to modern American cuisine will match the theme of the venue – New York City. Focusing on inventive packaging and progressive service techniques, Burke’s menu will be available in the restaurant, as well as on the lanes and for take out, delivery and private events.

Bowlmor Times Square, located in the Times Square Building on 44th street between 7th and 8th Avenues, will feature seven uniquely themed bowling areas (each representing important time periods or locations in New York City), as well as two nightclubs, an event ballroom and a full-service dining room. The venue’s extravagant design and spectacular attention to detail ensure that it will undoubtedly be Times Square’s most popular new destination.

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HOLLAND HERRING FESTIVAL THROUGH JUNE 25 AT HISTORIC GRAND CENTRAL OYSTER BAR

LIQUID LIBATIONS – KETEL ONE AND BOLS GENEVER “DUTCH” MARTINIS AND DUTCH FAVORITE HEINEKEN BEER – CO-STAR AT HOLLAND HERRING FESTIVAL THROUGH JUNE 25 AT HISTORIC GRAND CENTRAL OYSTER BARoyster-bar-interior-3

Liquid libations – “Dutch Martinis” featuring spirits from the Netherlands in the form of Ketel One vodka and Bols Genever gin – will co-star with “nieuw maatjes” herring at the annual Holland Herring Festival at the Grand Central Oyster Bar June 9 through June 25.

The Holland-imported Heineken beer joins the party with a pair of Heineken nights on consecutive Thursday nights – June 10 in a salute to Dutch sportsmen and June 17 in a tribute to Dutch New York – both from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The Heineken models will be on hand to greet customers each night, and prizes will be awarded.

The Ketel One martini will be priced at $11.75, while the Bols Genever gin martini is priced at $10.50. Heineken, Heineken Light and Amstel Light are all priced at $6.25 throughout the festival.

Fan favorite herring filets are served with hard boiled egg, sweet onion and chives, and are priced at $7.00, and the herring salad at $7.95 per order. The official “First Tasting” of the Holland Herring will take place at 12:00 noon on Wednesday, June 9.

For updates, information and reservations call the Grand Central Oyster Bar at 212-490-6650, or log onto http://www.oysterbarny.com/.

Ketel One and Bols Genever martini recipes follow:

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MATTHEW BOURNE’S SWAN LAKE

New York City Center, Sadler’s Wells and Back Row Productions

Richard Winsor as The Swan. Photo by Hugo Glendinning 7

Present A New Adventures Production

MATTHEW BOURNE’S SWAN LAKE

THE TONY AWARD® WINNING PRODUCTION

RETURNS TO NEW YORK

LIMITED ENGAGEMENT OCTOBER 13 – NOVEMBER 7, 2010

AT NEW YORK CITY CENTER

Directed and Choreographed by Matthew Bourne

“Fourteen years after its premiere, the show still packs a thrilling punch.”

Daily Mail (London, 2009)

MATTHEW BOURNE’S SWAN LAKE, the triumphant modern re-interpretation of the legendary ballet, turned tradition upside down and took both the theater and dance worlds by storm when it arrived on Broadway in 1998 and went on to win three Tony Awards® and five Drama Desk Awards.

Produced by New York City Center, Sadler’s Wells Theater London and Back Row Productions, the groundbreaking and multi-award-winning international hit production will return to New York for a strictly limited run October 13 – November 7, 2010 at New York City Center (West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues).

Tickets for MATTHEW BOURNE’S SWAN LAKE go on sale on Monday, June 7th at the New York City Center Box Office, through CityTix at 212-581-1212, or online at www.NYCityCenter.org.  Tickets are $110 (Orchestra and Grand Tier); $85 (Orchestra, Grand Tier and Mid-Mezzanine); $50 (Mid-Mezzanine and Rear Mezzanine) and $25 (Orchestra and Rear Mezzanine).

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BERNADETTE PETERS and ELAINE STRITCH TO RETURN TO BROADWAY IN STEPHEN SONDHEIM & HUGH WHEELER’S MUSICAL MASTERPIECE A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC

DIRECTED BY TREVOR NUNN
BEGINNING JULY 13
AT THE WALTER KERR THEATRE

Tony, Grammy & Golden Globe Award winner Bernadette Peters and Tony & Emmy Award winner Elaine Stritch will return to Broadway in Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Tony Award-winning masterpiece A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, directed by Tony Award-winner Trevor Nunn.

A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC currently stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, who will play their final performance on Sunday, June 20th. The production will be dark until performances resume on Tuesday, July 13th starring Bernadette Peters as Desirée Armfeldt and Elaine Stritch as Madame Armfeldt.
In addition to Catherine Zeta-Jones as Desirée Armfeldt and Angela Lansbury as Madame Armfeldt, the production also currently stars Alexander Hanson as Fredrik Egerman, Aaron Lazar as Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm, Erin Davie as Countess Charlotte Malcolm, Leigh Ann Larkin as Petra, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka as Henrik Egerman and Ramona Mallory as Anne Egerman. The cast also includes Stephen R. Buntrock, Bradley Dean, Marissa McGowan, Katherine McNamara, Betsy Morgan, Jayne Paterson, Kevin David Thomas, Keaton Whittaker, Karen Murphy, Erin Stewart, Kevin Vortmann.
Alexander Hanson is appearing with the support of Actors’ Equity Association. The producers gratefully acknowledge Actors’ Equity Association for its assistance to this production.
Based on Ingmar Bergman’s film Smiles of a Summer Night, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC is set in a weekend country house in turn of the century Sweden, bringing together surprising liaisons, long simmering passions and a taste of love’s endless possibilities. Hailed as witty and wildly romantic, the story centers on the elegant actress Desirée Armfeldt and the spider’s web of sensuality, intrigue and desire that surrounds her.

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TAJ’S 51 BUCKINGHAM GATE IS A HOME AWAY FROM HOME FOR BUSINESS TRAVELERS

"Connect at 51" Package Eliminates Weariness from Work and Travel

WHAT: "Connect at 51" is built for world travelers looking for a home base when working on the road. 51 Buckingham Gate has all the comforts of home plus concierge and butler services, nannies, luxury spa and much more. "Connect at 51" includes two-nights accommodation, full English breakfast, free use of wireless internet, 20% discount on laundry and Business Center services, full use of Spa at 51 and gym facilities, and a complimentary evening reception in the Library Bar.

WHO: Centered by a secluded courtyard garden in the heart of Westminster, 51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites and Residences is one of London’s best luxury accommodations. This five star townhouse hotel offers spacious suites, contemporary design and butler services for a short or extended stay. There’s also an award-winning spa and Michelin starred Quilon, where head chef Sriram Aylur serves light but authentic South Indian coastal cuisine.

WHEN: Taj’s "Connect at 51" package is valid until January 31, 2011, based on availability.

WHY: The busy streets of London can be daunting without a safe haven. Centrally located in bustling Westminster, 51 Buckingham Gate is in a world of its own; a peaceful garden enclave providing respite after a hard day’s work, with home-away-from-home touches and services. An interesting fact is that 51 Buckingham Gate was home of the War Office before it became a hotel. It was an important political meeting place during the War Years, where decisions were made over cigars, port and coffee that would affect the whole world.

HOW: "Connect at 51" is available from £260 per night (approximately $375 US) for two adults, minimum stay of two nights. For more information visit: www.51-buckinghamgate.com or call 1-866-969-1825

About 51 Buckingham Gate
Combining all the facilities and conveniences of a luxury city hotel with the space and exclusivity of a private home, 51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites & Residences consists of three individually designed buildings: Kings, Falconers and Ministers. The buildings have been beautifully restored and ’51’ now offers 86 elegant suites each with their own separate kitchen and living area. Located in St. James’s and just minutes from Buckingham Palace, shops and theaters of the West End, the townhouse hotel is an ideal base for a visit to London.

Voga: The Perfect Summer Companion

voga_sparkling_rise While the temperaturevoga_pinot_grigio_rise s are rising, stay cool this summer with VOGA ITALIA wine! VOGA sophistication in a glass will surely be the perfect addition to your summer plans. With its unique design and FULL BODIED FLAVORS of MERLOT and its ALLURING LIGHT CRISP TEXTURE, THE  SATISFYING TASTE OF PINOT GRIGIO, AND THE SMOOTH CITRUSY FINISH OF SPARKLING WHITE WINE VOGA IS DELICIOUS AT ANYTIME. VOGA has redesigned the traditional wine bottle with its modern design and re-sealable cap. PRICED AT $10.99-15.99.VOGA wines go great with just about anything and can be purchased anywhere wine is sold. Enjoy your summer with VOGA!

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