Keith McNally isn’t the only restaurateur talking smack hitting back at the critics these days: earlier this afternoon, SD26’s Tony May aired a few complaints of his own on The Leonard Lopate Show. May was taking part in a discussion with Lopate and DiPalo’s co-owner Louis DiPalo about the art of Italian food — which is, according to May, both a “cuisine of product” and the world’s “most misunderstood cuisine.”
Judging from his comments, it seems May himself feels a bit misunderstood — by the critics of his restaurant, which has received decidedly mixed reviews.
“To recognize authenticity, you need an expert,” May said. “To be competent in Italian cuisine, you have to go to Italy, you must have gone to different restaurants, you must have had lessons in Italian products, you’ve got to truly understand. … I think we have a problem with the consumer, but above all, I think we have a problem with the press. They’re the first ones that don’t really know anything, and I don’t think they really take the time to study in-depth what Italian cuisine is, with some notable exceptions. … I have a big problem with that. I find that most so-called critics today do not really understand the true flavors of Italian cuisine.”
When Sarah DiGregorio reviewed SD26 back in November, she noted the “numbing unch-unch-unch of generic lounge music,” tiny portions, tough lobster, and a panzanella salad that “arrived as a molded disk of mush.” The food, she concluded, “just does not seem loved.” Perhaps if there were a little more love to go around, then there’d be a little more understanding, too.