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Q&A with SD26's Marisa May

Throughout the New York City Food & Wine Festival this weekend, Eater welcomes bloggers, journalists and food world stars to our lounge at the Standard Hotel. As the peeps pass through, we're going to chat them up and spit out the dialogue here in this business, From the Eater Lounge. Right now: SD26 torchbearer Marisa May.

marisamay.jpgHow are things going the new SD26? Everything is great. We are on week two and a half. We just got through all our behind the scenes growing pains. It’s everything we wished for and more. We love our neighborhood. It’s a great neighborhood that loves good food and good wine.

How’s the crowd?: Very downtown. Young couples in their twenties and early thirties. Some celebrities: Susan Sarandon, Steve Martin, and Mark Wahlberg. This place is for the future. For the next generation. I think people enjoy seeing this dynamic – the father passing everything on to the daughter. There’s a lot of downtown in me. I went to NYU and used to go to Live Bait all the time. We wanted to really rock the image of the old San Domenico?The lounge is getting very busy – we’ve got a great lounge bar in the front. And we have the enomatic dispensers. And we also have really neat SD26 smart cards. And we have a great bar menu, a super bar menu. And we actually have a meatball sandwich [which will be featured in this evening’s Meatball Madness event].

Have your regulars warmed to the new location? MM: They’re still making it down. But I don’t think it will be as often because of the distance.

What changes have you made to the menu, compared to the original restaurant? MM: To create the menu, our staff went to Gambero Rosso. And my father invited all our Italian, Michelin-starred chef friends to come and try the recipes for the new San Domenico. And we got great advice.

Is it pretty much all new stuff? MM: Yeah, except for like three or four. What’s great is that we have both small and big plates. So you can mix and match, creating your own tasting menu And, if you have smaller ones you have more to try. There's so much flexibility in our menu.

Are the chefs adjusting to that big open kitchen? MM: Yes, some of that is so cutting edge. So we’re actually able to make dishes we couldn’t at the old restaurant.

What’s dad [Tony May] doing now? Does he get to relax? MM: He says he’s a technical consultant, and that he works for me. We’re definitely partners, definitely 50/50. But he’ll probably stop in about a year so he can play his golf and visit Italy more often.
· NYCWFF 2009 Coverage [~ENY~]