In fantastic news for downtown Dallas and Italian food fans everywhere, it’s the much anticipated (and relocated) comeback of Sassetta, opening at the Joule hotel at 1530 Main St. in downtown Dallas. According to a release, it’ll open on April 8, dinner only at first, with the addition of lunch to follow.
This is a second life for Sassetta, the restaurant founded by Tim Headington, CEO of Headington Companies, which first opened in the Dallas Design District in 2017. It closed during the pandemic and Headington has now relocated the concept to the Joule, in the space previously occupied by another Italian restaurant, great in its own right, called Americano, which also closed during the pandemic. (Sassetta’s Design District space has been replaced by another Italian restaurant, Carbone.)
Sassetta will do creative interpretations of modern and regional Italian cuisine, including:
shareable small plates such as tomato-braised meatballs, tuna carpaccio, and stuffed castelvetrano olives (an homage to Americano’s menu
house-made semolina pastas, rolled or extruded in various shapes then perfectly dressed, including ricotta agnolotti, black spaghetti, tagliatelle bolognese, and black pepper bucatini
- thin crust pizzas, starting with three-day fermented dough cooked at ultra-high temperatures to achieve a puffy, blistered crust, with toppings such as littleneck clams, hen o’ the woods, black pepper and burnt honey (an original Sassetta pizza)
Overseeing menu creation and execution is executive chef Jason Zygmont, who has worked at culinary bright lights such as Per Se, Noma, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns. He joined Sassetta in December 2021, relocating from Nashville, where his restaurant Setsun was awarded Eater’s 2019 Dish of the Year with his signature agnolotti.
“The culinary scene in Dallas is exploding and I’m excited to be joining this thriving food culture,” Zygmont says in a statement. “It’s clear that Sassetta initially struck such a chord here because of the quality of food and the beautifully designed space – no doubt this iteration is going to impress in a similar, yet new way.”
Although its main thrust is seasonal, modern Italian fare, the new menu also features influences from the Mediterranean region including Southern France, Northern Africa, and Spain. Wine list is a robust collection from various regions in Italy, as well as California and France, along with amari and Italian cocktails. The signature cocktail, Carmenta’s Spell, is named after a Roman goddess and contains Prosecco, Pisco, pomegranate liquor, and lemon juice and served in Il Buco Vita’s hand-blown “Goddess” glass.
Inspiration from Tuscany is woven into Sassetta’s reimagined aesthetic with a new color palette by Swoon the Studio, design, dining experience, and the restaurant’s serving pieces. That includes hand blown glassware, colored tumblers, and custom glazed dishes by Il Buco Vita, a group of skilled Italian artisans. They’re going for a modern, neighborhood trattoria where locals gather for aperitivos with friends or an elegant dinner.
Jean Liu, principal of interior design firm Jean Liu Design, says in a statement that they sought to emphasize the connection to Italy’s history through design elements such as terrazzo bathroom flooring, vibrant colors, and artwork and dining pieces by skilled artisans.
That includes Galloti & Radice Jolie light pendants in the dining room, and “Renata” floor and wall tiles from Ann Sacks’ terrazzo collection and an abstract mural by British interiors firm de Gournay representing Tuscany’s rolling hills as a defining element of the space.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, according to the release, is a subtle nod to Harry’s Bar in Venice. Liu also opened the dining room to embrace a large porch area for a more al fresco setting.
“We couldn’t be more excited to reintroduce Sassetta to Dallas as well as reintegrate itself into the vibrant fabric of Main Street,” Headington says. “Witnessing Sassetta’s meticulous evolution under Jean’s artistic vision has been incredibly inspiring to me and The Joule team. And what Chef Zygmont has created – refining our favorites, as well as presenting new dishes – reflects our commitment to quality and creating more reasons to visit downtown.”