Posted 25th March 2012 by Chris Chu
Recently my wife and I went with another couple to a restaurant located on that weirdly wide street that borders the north side of Madison Park. That restaurant would be SD26 on 26th street between Madison & 5th Ave. Let me begin by saying, not too bad considering we accidentally went during restaurant week.
SD26 definitely aims at being “hipper” (C’mon, the wine list is on an Apple iPad that one gets to scroll through; That’s pretty hip!) than the original San Domenico that was located on Central Park south. When entering SD26 one passes through a long hall that “happens” to have the bar located on the right side; continuing on past the coat check one finally arrives at the host station. Man, this restaurant is quite large! The main dining room is a cavernous bi-level space that house both the open main kitchen on one side as well as a “charcuterie” station on the other. The four of us had the restaurant week menu which was surprisingly well conceived. It actually consisted of items on the regular menu, but set up in a Prix-fixe manner and well worth the restaurant week pricing. Now here is where things get strange.
We went at around 6pm (early for a Thursday nite) and were surprised at how empty the place was. Yet….somehow we managed to end up getting seated between 2 other occupied tables. If a restaurant is empty, why sit people on top of each other?!?!? I HATE THAT!! The waiter we had seemed like he would rather be doing anything else besides working (rather inattentive), which definitely “sucked” considering the waiter at the table next to me seemed very engaging with his “customers”. Our waiter seemed to pay a little more attention to us once we ordered way more food than just the restaurant week menu; oh yeah..2 bottles of bubbly also seemed to grab his attention! This just annoys me to no end (as well as other people I’m sure!) when a waiter seems to gauge how much attention is paid to the patron based upon how much they spend.
Anyways, the food was pretty good, but extremely expensive for what we got. The restaurant Prix-fixe was $30 per person. Add in a charcuterie plate of 5 meats, a cheese plate of 4 cheeses, an appetizer portion of veal sweetbreads and 2 bottle of Prosseco….surprise, surprise and the bill was over $400.00! The food was pretty good as I said, but definitely not worth the money paid considering the service was sub-par.
I don’t know…the old San Domenico seemed much more worth the money spent. Service was much better and the atmosphere was much more refined. Am I becoming an “old fart”, I don’t think so! I just truly believe that the pricier a restaurant becomes, more attention to detail needs to be paid to customer satisfaction!