SD26 was a restaurant on the list for a while. So when Gilt City featured a Five Course Chef’s Table Dinner at SD26 for $84, we bought it. (If you want to sign up, why not use my Gilt City Referral Sign Up Link so I can get a referral bonus?).
- Five-course tasting menu
- One appetizer, pasta, fish, meat and dessert
- $10 Enomatic wine card for a future visit
- Meet-and-greet with Chef Matteo Bergamini and co-owners Tony May and Marisa May
It wasn’t valid on holidays, Saturdays, nor Sundays, so it was quite hard to find a day to go since we work far too much. I got the reminder that the vouchers were expiring soon (I have missed 2 or 3 things I’ve purchased due to expiry dates… dammit!) so we made a reservation to go one Thursday night.
We were immediately greeted by a warm receiving line of chefs and waiters and sat, literally, right in the kitchen. I LOVE sitting in the kitchen. To me, there are few cooler things than watching how a kitchen works from the inside. It’s fascinating to see how the kitchen staff can operate so like a well-oiled machine, each making part of an order and somehow delivering each piece of each meal perfectly at the same time.
There are 2 tables in the kitchen, and we were all alone for most of our meal, but a couple joined us later with the same voucher in hand.
The chef came over and introduced himself, then asked if there were any allergies (so I told him about my allergy to peppers and the unfortunate side effects) and if we didn’t like anything specific. I told him that we eat everything (besides peppers) including the weirder things like organ meat. His eyes lit up and he immediately said “Sweet breads!” and went into the kitchen.
We were given an iPad that was dedicated to a wine list app. You could search by region, varietal, pairing, etc. When you would tap on wines, you could read more about them, or about their region, etc. It was an awesome app and we spent a good 20 minutes just flipping through it. We eventually decided on a far too expensive Patz & Hall Chardonnay. I have a problem that when something was paid a long time ago, it feels like it was free. So I convinced myself that we could buy an expensive bottle of wine since we weren’t paying for the dinner. I like my dream world… shut up.
We started with some focaccia, which was just a little too good.
And two large breadsticks, which were buttery and delicious.
And then more bread… this time a fluffy brioche.
We watched them assemble perfect dishes of asparagus with roasted pepper and fish.
And a giant fish cooked in a salt crush.
Our first course came out: Veal sweet breads with mustard sauce and coffee. He may have also said parsnip, but I’m not postitive on that. These were perfectly cooked and filled with flavor. The coffee was a great balance and even though I’m not a huge fan of mustard, this all went perfectly together and the flavor wasn’t dominated by mustard.
Next, the chef came and presented us with homemade spaghetti with mussels and garlic… and chili. To which Mike and I said in chorus “Chili???” He ate his while they remade mine.
Which was the same but without chili. This was okay. I was hoping for more flavor (perhaps the chili rounded it out well), but it was nice overall.
Our next course is something that SD26 is known for, and now we know why. Raviolo (which I thought meant a big ravioli, but turns out it technically is just the singular form of ravioli) with ricotta and spinach and soft egg inside in a brown butter truffle sauce. Brown butter. Truffle sauce. Nom Nom Nom.
When you cut it open, the yolk spilled into the sauce and made for quite the scrumptious flavor. (Mike and I tried to make something like this once, but it was no where near this good. Not to self: Brown Butter. Truffle sauce.)
Our next dish was a variation on the asparagus/roasted peppers and fish dish we saw being made earlier, only with spinach instead of roasted peppers. This was Striped Sea bass, asparagus, spinach, and spinach chlorophyl mayo. (Chlorophyl? Fascinating!)
It was tasty and the fish was well cooked. The mayo was really fantastic with great flavor.
Our next course was a beef dish with porcini mushrooms and arugula. The mushrooms on this dish were so rich and flavorful. I really enjoyed the combination of flavors.
We had finished our (too expensive) bottle of wine by this point, so 2 glasses of chardonnay come on the house (Perhaps because of the allergy mix-up? Perhaps because I was taking pictures so they suspected I might be writing about them? Perhaps because we spent too much money on a bottle of wine already? Who knows! And who cares! It was good wine.)
I really enjoyed the view from our table, including the pastry area to the other side where they had their petit fours all ready and waiting to go for each table.
The seemed to have a big party because they assembled huge sets of plates with identical dishes and desserts a few times. I enjoyed watching the setup of each of the pastry plates, and the pastry chef was very exact.
When these chocolate cakes came out, the smell blew me over. Holy chocolate batman!
Our desserts came up next, starting with a pineapple banana shot with strawberries. Fresh and delicious. Great segue from dinner into dessert.
Up next was some coconut whipped cream with cocoa on top. My guys missed the mark on the cocoa a little bit, and the pastry chef gave him a quick glance that packed a punch.
His next time on Mike’s was much better.
This was another really nice segue. Nicely flavored, small, and light.
And then the chocolate cakes came out.
The were topped with a nicely stamped SD26 chocolate piece.
And oozed perfectly when cut into. This was a great lava cake, definitely more on the bittersweet side, and rich as rich can be.
We also had a 2nd dessert, which I completely missed the name of. The pastry chef was fantastic (and, according to our waiter, recently fresh from Italy) but I just could not understand her accent (I’m a bad American… I know). It was flake pastry with strawberries and some delicious cream. I think it had some caramel in it. Whatever it was… it was good. We also ordered some moscato and it went great with this.
Just when we thought we probably shouldn’t have another bite or another drink, they brought out 2 more glasses of moscato on the house and some petit fours.
This was a hard, fudgy candy with white and bittersweet chocolate.
And this was a lemon cookie of some sort. Very, very good.
This was such a fun adventure, eating in the kitchen and having the chef cook for us right there. It seems this is a secret of SD26, but you can reserve these tables in advanced (either for 2 or 4). It’s an impressive date night and just plain foodie fun. It definitely made me want to go back, soon, and try out their main dining room.
Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10