Tony and Marisa May Open Restaurant SD26 on Madison Square Park
With the opening of their new restaurant SD26, father-and-daughter team Tony and Marisa May have brought their upscale and sophisticated approach to Italian dining to Madison Square Park.
Designed by the renowned Massimo Vignelli, the glamorous 14,000 square foot space has three levels. At the entrance is a wine bar and lounge area, while the dining room and open kitchen are at the back. The décor is simple with colorful fabric sculptures on the walls and suspended from the ceilings. A private party space is located on a mezzanine above while the cantina, a cozy dining room in the wine cellar, is on the floor below.
Speaking of wine, the restaurant boasts an enormous list, which diners can access on a hand-held electronic device that is brought to the table instead of a traditional printed wine list. It’s a good idea that I am sure will work out just fine once everybody figures out how to use it.
As at the Mays’ former restaurant, San Domenico, Odette Fada is the chef at SD26. From our table near the cheese board and bright red salumi slicing machine, I could see Odette busily overseeing the kitchen operations. Tony came by and insisted we try some culatello, the choicest part of the prosciutto, which he then sliced for us himself. He was right. The culatello was tender, sweet, mellow — and expertly sliced.
I resisted the urge to order my old favorite from San Domenico, the poached egg stuffed raviolo, and opted instead for the rich and gamy pappardelle with boar ragu. Charles loved the meltingly tender beef cheeks braised in red wine while I enjoyed baccala prepared three ways. We ended the meal with a pistachio cake and poached figs.
We tasted only a few of the dishes on the menu, but we are looking forward to returning. I can’t wait to sample some of the unusual cheeses that Marisa told us no other restaurant in the city has. And, of course, another plate of culatello sliced by Tony.