I am so excited about this week’s book club choice. It is THE DELMONICO WAY: Sublime Entertaining & Legendary Recipes from the Restaurant that Made New York! By Max Tucci. I love reading about old New York and especially from such an iconic location. My dear friend Max is allowing the walls of Delmonicos to talk by sharing the incredible story of the incredible restaurant his family built. The book is available for pre-order HERE. I cannot wait to get mine.
Located in the heart of Wall Street, Delmonico’s from 1827 to the 1980s shaped New York City’s restaurant scene. Under the original ownership of The Delmonico Brothers, Pietro and Giovanni, Delmonico’s introduced the first farm-to-table concept, à la carte dining—complete with white tablecloths and menus—but most notably created the phenomenon called the “power
lunch.” Despite Delmonico’s triumphs, the impact of World War I and the era of Prohibition caused the family to cease operations, shuttering the restaurant in 1923. In 1926 a new era for Delmonico’s arose. Oscar Tucci, a Tuscan immigrant, took over ownership and re-established Delmonico’s first as a Speakeasy and then he continued the Delmonico brothers’ tradition, transforming it into a beacon of fine dining. Oscar developed a strict code of hospitality, etiquette, and operations coupled with legendary libations and superb fare known as the Delmonico way. After six decades of operations, The Tucci
Family closed Delmonico’s in the late 1980s, however, the Delmonico way still lives on today because of Max Tucci.
DELMONICO WAY: SUBLIME ENTERTAINING & LEGENDARY RECIPES FROM THE RESTAURANT THAT MADE NEW YORK! by Max Tucci, Oscar’s grandson, opens the double doors of his family’s Delmonico’s, welcoming us to a world when dining out was a glamorous affair. Max along with his celebrity chef friends offers timeless recipes and Max, shares his tips for recreating the magic of the Delmonico way at home.
Royalty, celebrities, socialites, U.S. presidents, foreign dignitaries, and business tycoons all frequented Delmonico’s. Elizabeth Taylor, President John F. Kennedy, and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Rock Hudson, Marilyn Monroe, Lena Horne, Gypsy Rose Lee, Eva Gabor, and Zsa Zsa Gabor, King Umberto II of Italy, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, President Richard Nixon, Chubby Checker, Christine Jorgensen, and Joan Crawford were among some of the most notable names that Tucci welcomed to his tables which were famously adorned with Ginori, Baccarat, Lalique, and Christofle.
Each chapter is organized around a style of dining that Delmonico’s pioneered or perfected under Tucci’s proprietorship, including how to host an impressive power lunch (featuring Oscar’s creation, the signature wedge salad); a glamorous cocktail soirée before a night on the town, complete with oysters Rockefeller and shrimp cocktail; and the perfect romantic dinner for two with a show-stopping seafood tower and ribeye Bordelaise. THE DELMONICO WAY includes over 70 recipes, including two from the restaurant’s most famous alumni, Sirio Maccioni’s Pasta Primavera and Tony May’s trademarked Uovo
Raviolo. In addition to the fine fare, “The Bar” chapter features sophisticated cocktails that include the classic Delmonico, legendary Negroni with a “Delmonico way” twist, and the festive Spencer cocktail created by artist Ashley Longshore’s grandmother.
Renowned designer Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich expertly layers vintage era photographs, ephemera, menus, and countless other gems featured in THE DELMONICO WAY that remind us that entertaining with style, elegance, sophistication, and intention remains just as relevant today as it did during the height of the era.
Some Delmonico’s trivia to have in your back pocket:
• Between the 1950s to the 1970s Delmonico’s had a NO PAPARAZZI rule inside the restaurant, allowing
patrons to have a truly private dining experience.
• Delmonico’s, during Tucci’s’ proprietorship, was neither a steakhouse nor did it identify as a steakhouse.
Countless dishes on the menu were inspired by India, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, and other
• Gypsy Rose Lee danced on the table at Delmonico’s.
• Carol Channing, Barbra Streisand, and Bette Midler all sang about Delmonico’s in Hello Dolly!
• The only customer ever turned away from Delmonico’s was Fidel Castro. Castro was in New York City in
1960 as part of the Cuban delegation to the United Nations. Oscar would not allow Fidel in because of his politics; Mario (Oscar’s son) would not allow Castro in because of his attire.
• Iconic restaurateurs Sirio Maccioni (Le Cirque) Tony May (The Rainbow Room, San Domenico and SD26), and Harry Poulakakos (Harry’s) started their careers at Oscar’s Delmonico.
About The Author: Max Tucci is an award-winning producer and host of Max & Friends. He is a writer and a TVand radio personality. Max is known for being a food and entertaining enthusiast. He is a philanthropist and a historian of the Delmonico legacy. Max owns the largest collection of Delmonico’s memorabilia. He resides between New York, Florida, Colorado, and Florence, Italy