Chef’s Table at SD26

Nothing like starting off the night in a beautiful restaurant sitting at the bar eating delicious olives and drinking a nice cold glass of champagne.  My taxi driver decided that instead of bringing me to 26th Street to take me to 19th Street…. *stress* but thankfully I arrived just in time to take in the lounge scene before getting situated in the kitchen for my Chef’s Table dinner.

SD26… SD26.. where do we even begin…. I’ve had my fair share of Italian food.. and while, I’m biased and think that very little can compare to Michael White’s… I’ve been having amazing non-White Italian food too ;D To be honest, it’s mainly the pasta that I’m picky about.. cooked to perfect, perfectly sauced… delicious, balanced… okay, until we get to that course.. let me continue on by a brief 411 on SD26…

Where to even begin.. or what to say that hasn’t already been said.  A gorgeous modern Italian restaurant from restauranteur Tony May and Marisa May [formerly co-owners of Rainbow Room] I’m not as good with bios so you should read about them  and their amazing accomplishments on their website.

As soon as we were seated our waiter greeted us and soon after we got to talk to the Exec Chef.. yep, that’ll be Matteo Bergamini…!!!  We told him that we ate everything [and that I preferred not to have goat cheese or lamb] and that we LOOOOVE UNI :D Which was great because he gave us some in our tasting – WOOT!

Toast, Baguette and Wheat Breads

Foccaccia and this Italian Hollow Bread

The hollow bread was SO good.. I just wish it was warm.. the foccaccia was FULL of flavor and just melted into your tongue. Garlicky and buttery, with a slight hint of rosemary.. so delicious.

Breadsticks, EVOO, Salt Bowl

EVOO and Balsamic Vinegar

Menaica Anchovy Filets, Roasted Country Bread with Herb Cured Lardo

Thin slice of lardo on top of a crunchy, slightly burnt country bread.. so delicious and just enough bread.. perhaps not enough lardo since I had some extra bread left over hehehe…

Salty and delicious. Super fishy, which is the only way to eat anchovies.  This paired with the lardo and toast was little heavenly bites.  Made me fantasize about Imperial No. 9’s Lardo & Uni…  I ended up eating both elements together and seperately.  I love anchovies and the bread defiinitely cut the saltiness.. but the lardo was much better on it’s own.

Sea Urchin Raviolini with Olive Oil, Garlic, Peperoncino & Piennolo Tomato Ragu & Fried Parsley

Yes!  The highly anticipated pasta dish, which I think is one of the most important courses when it comes to Italian meals…. with protein I find that in Italian food, the simpler the better, s&p and good EVOO makes it perfect.. but with pasta, there’s so many more elements to a perfect pasta dish.  These were little baby raviolis.. the pasta itself seemed slightly overcooked, but overall delicious.  The uni was sooo creamy and just rolled around in your mouth and melted down your through.  Fried parsley added a much needed extra crunch and flavor to the dish.  There was a slight heat from the dish, a little bit of spice which was really nice… :] The sauce was slightly on the salty side but had great flavor… The smooth garlic puree was creamy and amazing with every bite.

Scallop Saltimbocca, Crushed Potatoes, Seared Endive, Crunchy Prosciutto & Fried Sage

These scallops were HUGE… totally made me think back to Imperial No. 9‘s scallops that we totally missed out on.  While I like cooked endive, I find it to be a bit too swuishy and I love the flavors of raw endive more… the prosciutto was crisp and delicious and the fried sage also added just the right amount of crunch to the tender succulent scallops.  The scallops were juicy and fresh – SO good.  I’m obsessed with fried sage, it just melts in your mouth… currently dreaming of the fried sage with Met Bar’s fries….

Roasted Cod with Veggies

Tender succulent cod.  This wasn’t on their regular menu  so I’m guessing the chef decided to whip this up specially [or maybe it was a special of the day?]  This was light and perfect.  I think it’s a light brown butter sauce, not heavy at all.  The fish was cooked just right and the veggies were very tender.

Beef Cheeks Braised in Barolo Wine with Semolina Gnocchi & Onion Marmalade

These cheeks literally just fell apart and melted away.  I had no idea that was a giant gnocchi? I was guessing it was a fine grit cake or something.. maybe it was and they just changed it up.. the sauce that the cheeks were braised in was so SO good… tons of soft texture that paired beautifully with the beef. *in love*

Sauteed Veal Fillet, Wild Mushrooms, Salsify & Caramelized Cipollini Onion

Super tender and cooked pretty well considering we didn’t say anything about how rare we usually like our meat.  Everything worked so well together… the salsify to the amazingly sweet and caramelized cipollini onion [I wish there were two]  The veal was super tender.. but still not as much when compared to the beef cheeks… I couldn’t help but keep going back to the cheeks…

Panna Cotta, Balsamic Vinegar Reduction, Strawberries

The creamiest delicious panna cotta I have EVER had…. and while not “wobbly like a woman’s breast” har har, it was SOOOOOO creamy I can’t get over it.  You could see the vanilla bean seeds scattered throughout the creamy yumminess… the strawberries were SO fresh adn sweet.. and the balsamic vinegar reduction was light and paired perfectly.

Chocolate Hazelnut Dome, Candied Zest, Orange Sorbet

This tasted slightly off to me.. like a sheep’s milk, although upon asking and inspection our server said that “no sheep’s milk in NYC” which is kinda a lie… but the chocolate was bitter and delicious.. dark and yummy.. the sweet zest and citrusy sorbet paired really well with the chocolate.

Biscotti, Cookies and BrowniesThese were all SO tasty.  The jammie thumbprint cookies and the brownies were my favorite… I even ate the brownies with the panna cotta smeared over it. YUM!

Oh, I forgot to mention that we got glasses of wine [and then some] to go with our dishes, a great wine pairing and I thoroughly enjoyed the wines that they gave us.  From the Prosecco to the Chardonnay to the amazing Pinot Noir.

I really want to come back to SD26 to try the many other yummies on the menu.  Everything looks so good, PLUS they have GOAT and etc… :D Who wants to join me? :D

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