These days the astoundingly not forgettable decade, the 80’s, is everywhere – in our music, in our clothes, in our furniture. Somehow the gauche era – in an ironic twist of fate – has become the contemporary arbiter of taste, at least in the design world. But in the food world, taste is of equal, if not greater, importance and thankfully 80’s cuisine – tuna casserole, Tab, Hamburger Helper – has not experienced the same kind of renaissance.

Helping to keep that decade forever interred is SD26, the new modern Italian restaurant brought to you by famed restaurateurs Tony May and his daughter, Marisa May. Last June, the duo announced that Central Park South’s ubiquitous San Domenico would be closing its doors, updating its cuisine and moving into an area with a more hep crowd – not that aged tycoons aren’t hep.

Now open, the 14,000 square-foot, tri-level SD26 has reversed the aging process by placing a large focus on the restaurant’s more loungey side. The New York restaurant stores 10,000 bottles of wine, ranging in price from $34-$3400, and they certainly set the stage for the evening. While the 9-foot ceilings, colorful sandblasted, floating sculptures and chocolate brown banquettes keep patrons grounded in modernity, even if their tendency is to meander into nostalgia when drinking.

But SD 26 does respect the legacy of its former incarnation. That being said, the May duo went to tremendous lengths to make sure Chefs Odette Fada and Matteo Bergamini had the menu right. The group went to Italy and appeared on Gambero Rosso – Italy’s Food Network – in front of two Michelin Star chefs to test their menu. Apparently, the Italian stars didn’t turn their classical noses up at butternut squash gnocchi with chicken liver and fried sage; veal fillet and sweetbreads with pumpkin puree and puntarelle salad; or egg-yolk filled ravioli with truffled butter.

Speaking of ravioli, now that the 80’s are over, Chef Boyardee – and all of his followers for that matter – should stop burying their heads in a can and come pay SD26 a visit.

Address: 19 East 26th Street, New York, NY
Contact: 212-265-5959
Cuisine: Italian
Area: Midtown East
Venue: Restaurant, Lounge
Hours: Mon. – Sat. 11:30am – 12:00am
Price Range: $$$ (Within Reach)
Payment: Master Card, Visa, American Express

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