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Designer Dining

19.05.22

Located in The Joule hotel in the heart of downtown Dallas, Sassetta first made waves upon its original opening in 2017 and now, after a total renovation envisioned by ELLE Decor A-List designer Jean Liu, the reimagined space is once again welcoming guests

Inspiration from Tuscany is artfully interwoven into Sassetta’s reimagined aesthetic through a particular emphasis on the new colour palette, design, dining experience and the restaurant’s serving pieces. The result is a thoughtful collaboration with Il Buco Vita, a curated selection of hand blown glassware, coloured tumblers and custom glazed dishes by skilled Italian artisans that reinforce the authentic design scheme. The spirit of Sassetta is relaxed, but still highly refined. The mood is bright, lively and high-spirited, not unlike the energy in a modern, neighbourhood trattoria where locals gather for aperitivos with friends or an elegant dinner.

“Sassetta signifies a seamless fusion of traditional and contemporary in its approach to Italian cuisine, and we used this to inform our strategy, scheme and aesthetic for the reimagination of the restaurant,” explains Jean Liu, principal of acclaimed interior design firm Jean Liu Design. “We sought to emphasize the connection to Italy’s rich history  through specific design elements, like the terrazzo bathroom flooring, vibrant colours, and curated collections of artwork and dining pieces by skilled artisans. The end result is something that feels familiar yet elevated in a subtle and sophisticated way.”

With the intention of enhancing Sassetta’s modern yet genuine Italian ambiance, Headington and Liu commissioned British interiors firm de Gournay to create a custom abstract mural representing Tuscany’s rolling hills, a defining design element of the space. Liu also opened the dining room to embrace a large porch area for a more al fresco setting. Striking Galloti & Radice Jolie light pendants in the dining room evoke the familiarity and appreciation of the establishment’s original location. Powder rooms feature ‘Renata’ floor and wall tiles from Ann Sacks’ terrazzo collection and offer a point of connection to Italy’s storied past through a modernized lens.

Known for its seasonal, modern Italian fare, the new menu directed by executive chef Mat Urban features influences from the Mediterranean region including Southern France, Northern Africa and Spain through a varied selection of handcrafted pasta, house-cured meats, seafood and thin crust pizzas. Complementing the menu is a robust collection of wines from various regions in Italy, as well as California and France, along with amari and simple, straightforward Italian cocktails. The signature cocktail, Carmenta’s Spell, is named after the Roman goddess who cast spells of healing and is composed of Prosecco, Pisco, pomegranate liquor, and lemon juice and served in Il Buco Vita’s hand-blown “Goddess”  glass.

“We couldn’t be more excited to reintroduce Sassetta to Dallas as well as reintegrate itself into the vibrant fabric of Main Street,” said Tim Headington, founding CEO of Headington Companies. “Witnessing Sassetta’s meticulous evolution under Jean’s artistic vision has been incredibly inspiring to me and The Joule team and reflects our commitment to quality and creating more reasons to visit downtown.”

Creative interpretations of modern and regional Italian cuisine include several shareable small plates ranging from tomato braised meatballs and whipped ricotta to tuna carpaccio, and stuffed castelvetrano olives (a fan-favourite of and homage to the former Americano restaurant at The Joule). House made semolina pastas are rolled or extruded in various shapes then perfectly dressed – ricotta agnolotti, black spaghetti, tagliatelle bolognese, black pepper bucatini and more. Thin crust pizzas start with three-day fermented dough cooked at ultra-high temperatures to achieve a puffy, blistered crust. Toppings include littleneck clams, hen o’ the woods, black pepper and burnt honey (an original Sassetta pizza).

With a contemporary take on romanticized European design and still a subtle nod to Harry’s Bar in Venice, Sassetta will be open initially for dinner service and available for private events. Reservations are encouraged for the dining room via Resy with walk-in seating available in the bar.

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