Go, go, go.
Had predinner drinks at 26 West … first time visit. For those that haven’t been there’s a smallish bar at the entrance of the restaurant and a larger bar towards the rear that overlooks part of the dining room and large windows looking out to the Navesink. A very attractive space (they are apparently constructing a rooftop space as well). All the seats at the bar were taken but one, so my wife took a seat, I stood behind, and we waited and waited and waited (10-15 mins) before one of the four people behind the bar finally bothered to look our way. The service was indifferent, and really turned off my wife who is in the hospitality/restaurant business. They had 20 or so beers on tap and I had hoped to sample a couple, but with the lost time I only had time for one drink so went in a different direction. I requested an Old Fashioned or something similar. The bartender suggested a Vieux Carre which I never had (comes out of New Orleans). Fantastic drink and great suggestion. Made up a bit for the service.
On to Semolina. Did I say go, go, go? As noted upthread, it’s the old Dish space. From my Friday night visit in a completely full restaurant, I can attest that they have not addressed the noise problem. It was raucous from the time we arrived (around 8:30 until about half the restaurant had cleared at around 9:30). Hopefully they plan to take steps to mitigate the noise issue. They are only 6 days operating and there were some minor service issues but nothing that detracted from the enjoyment of the food. Our server, Shane, who we learned is married to the Chef/Owner was an absolute pleasure and was extremely welcoming. Our meal selections were very similar to sockster’s - burrata with peaches and tomatoes which we dressed up with a very nice balsamic served on the side and amazing clams served in a white wine/garlic combo (I think). The burrata was great, the clams and broth were outstanding. For mains we stuck to pastas. I had the pea agnolotti. If you like mint, run to order this while it’s still on the menu (was told it’s coming off in 2-3 weeks to be replaced by a pasta featuring Jersey corn). The other order was the crab and pasta minus the bacon which my wife doesn’t care for. Like the apps, the crab and pasta was great, the agnolotti was outstanding. At Shane’s suggestion, we shared a peach galette for dessert. Flaky and buttery and not cloyingly sweet. A nice end to an excellent meal. It’s been a while since I’ve been excited by a new opening. Semolina seems like it has the potential to be a real hit.