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Exit San Domenico, Enter SD26


Note: Click here for a review of SD26.

We finally know the fate of San Domenico, the old-school Italian mainstay on Central Park West. We’ve known for months that the May family had lost their lease—more accurately, that they were faced with an increase they considered prohibitive—but not what would happen next.

Today, as San Domenico closes for good, owner Tony May announced that the restaurant will move to 19 E. 26th Street at Madison Square Park, and be re-branded SD26.

We have to wonder about the timing: if May had announced this on Monday, he could have had it in the Times, which instead just noted the closing without any details about the return.

san_domenico_logo.gifWe want to be bullish on this place, but we can’t. Leaving aside our awful meal there last year, the new concept sounds like May took an inventory of all the fashionable restaurant memes, and just ticked off the boxes: a 350-seat dining room (more than doubling the current space); a 75-seat lounge; a market that sells the same products used in the restaurant; a “less-structured menu”; and don’t forget, “product-driven.”

None of these things are bad per se, but when you see all of them in one restaurant, you get the sense that the restaurant is just following a bunch of trends. By the time it opens, something else will be fashionable, and SD26 will already seem old.

Don’t get us started on the décor, which looks like a Meatpacking-district reject.

The owners hope for an April 2009 opening, which means the over-under is somewhere around next September.

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