Last night, from 9:30pm into the wee hours of the morning, restaurant industry insiders, chefs, and media-types gathered at the downtown reinvention of the legendary San Domenico, SD26, on the north side of Madison Square Park. The cause? To preview and celebrate the upcoming New York Wine and Food Festival—as well as to schmooze, booze, and gorge on a chefs' marathon of epic pastas and charcuterie from Tony May's stable of Italian chefs, many of whom flew in from Italy for the occasion. Eater was proud to co-host; our thanks to everyone who turned out. And now, for the record, the liner notes:
1) Industry roll call: Gail Simmons, Daniel Boulud, Masaharu Morimoto, Cesare Casella, Drew Nieporent, Dana Cowin, Seamus Mullen, Mike White, Chris Cannon, Mark Pastore, Pat LaFrieda, Harold Dieterle, Bill Telepan, John Fraser, Mathieu Palombino, Joe Bastianich, George Mendes, Alain Allegretti, Christina Grdovic, Hal Rubenstein, Josh Capon, John McDonald, Franklin Becker, Pete Daversa, George Motz, David Rabin, and oh so many more.
2) Tony and Marisa May generously lent out their newly relocated restaurant, SD26, for the soiree. The modern downtown version of onetime Central Park South mainstay opened to the public today for its first lunch service. The space is divided into a large front bar room equipped with Barolo and Brunello-heavy enomatic wine machines; a main downstairs dining room dominated by a monster open kitchen on one side and a cheese and meat bar on the other; an upstairs mezzanine that can be sectioned off with a sliding glass door; and a downstairs wine cellar/PDR. This place is massive, folks, and blew pretty much everyone's mind.
3) Now, food. Executive Chef Odette Fada and Chef de Cuisine Matteo Bergamini will be running the show from here on out, but for the party, the Mays imported over a dozen Italian chefs—including some big Michelin star owning guns like Mario Iaccarino of Don Alphonso 1890, Salvatore Tassa, Nicola Batavia and Alberto Ciarla—who in turn served up a slew of pastas, meats, and cheeses, meatball sliders, lamb croquettes, vitello tonatto, fried gnocci, and all kinds of goodness. It was quite the spread.
4) In addition to the flowing champagne, wine, and full bar, ABSOLUT upped the ante by offering a signature ABSOLUT lemon and thyme cocktail, created by Tony May's team.
5) And the big topic of the night, The New York Wine and Food Festival and its king, Mr. Lee Schrager. The festival rolls into New York over Columbus Day weekend, kicking off that Thursday. Like last year, Eater will host a bloggers' lounge at the event, so expect to be hearing much more about it in the weeks to come.