Experience all the flavors of Italy at Italian Dine Out

SD26 offers a perfect summer soup: chilled tomato

SD26 offers a perfect summer soup: chilled tomato with Burrata. (Credit: SD26 offers a perfect summer soup: chilled tomato with Burrata.)

It's hard to pinpoint the defining element of Italian food, a cuisine with the multiple personalities exhibited by the country's myriad geographical regions.

But according to Italian Trade Commissioner Dr. Pier Paolo Celeste, all Italian food focuses on "basic and fresh ingredients, and is naturally very healthy."

To celebrate the country's cuisine and culture, the Italian Trade Commission is sponsoring Italian Dine Out, New York City's first Italian restaurant week, starting today and running through July 6. Sixteen of the city's most authentic Italian restaurants will be taking part, including Barbetta, Lady Gaga's parents' restaurant Joanne Trattoria, Circo, and Sirio Maccioni's famed Sirio Ristorante.

The chefs of the participating restaurants hope to showcase the fundamentals of Italian cuisine, which focuses on simple ingredients and techniques, exemplified in clean yet hearty dishes found on menus.

" ... you get the full flavors of what you are eating," said Maccioni, whose restaurants offer fresh and seasonal ingredients.

Marisa May, co-owner of SD26, says the food at her restaurant is based on the clean flavors of Mediterranean cooking, and is made to order.

"[It's] not worked for hours in the kitchen and doesn't sit in the pot," she said.

SD26's devotion to well-sourced ingredients is clear from the restaurant's Italian Dine Out menus, which include lengthy descriptions of the dishes being served.

Diners can indulge in three-course menus for lunch ($26) and dinner ($40).

For info, visit italianmade.com/blog, and for reservations, opentable.com/italiandineout


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