October is white truffle time at New York’s SD26. Every autumn for the past 22 years, the restaurant’s truffle hunter collects the best specimens in the Alba and Piedmont regions of northern Italy, and they are flown directly to New York, where they’re served to guests the same evening, according to Marisa May, who owns the restaurant with her father, Tony May.
Every year, the owners create a special seasonal menu to enhance the fragrance and subtle flavor of rare white truffles, which has a peak season of about a month starting in mid October. This year’s white truffle menu, which debuted October 19, features a fried whole egg with robiola fondue; fettuccine with butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and pistachios; veal-filled ravioli in capon broth; and monkfish cheeks, butter, and thyme with leeks and red-wine potatoes. When each dish is served, the lumpy truffle is brought to the table and shaved directly onto the dish, for a price of $8 per gram, and the Mays suggest a serving of 5 to 6 grams per dish.
Throughout the white truffle season, an SD26 employee is sent to Italy weekly or biweekly depending upon the demand, to pick up the freshest white truffles from the hunter, a tradition that started in the early 80s when Tony May was among the first to introduce the rare delicacy from his native country to New York diners.
To end the monthlong celebration, SD26 will host a White Truffle Gala Dinner on November 17 for $350 per person, which will include four wines, a white truffle, and shaver for each table. SD26’s hunter will be at the dinner and will share the white-truffle legend with guests and educate them on the traditions of the hunt. (212.265.5959, www.SD26NY.com)