My foodie friend Irene took me out for a delightful long lunch at Sassetta Dallas today. Located in The Joule hotel in downtown Dallas, Sassetta is the kind of place where you want to order a cappuccino and stay for awhile. It’s the perfect cozy place to watch the rain, and the food is incredible.
We sat down at 1:45 pm just as the rain was lightening up. The atmosphere at Sassetta is gorgeous and sleek without being too modern or trendy. We sat by the huge windows watching the bustle of people trotting by (some looking like it’s the dead of summer, others already well into their fall wardrobe) on Main Street. From our table, we could see the beautiful gardens across the street that hold Dallas’ famous eye sculpture.
We promptly ordered drinks (freshly squeezed lemonade for me, limeade for her) and appetizers: tomato braised meatballs with whipped ricotta, herbs, and sourdough, fall burrata with grilled peaches, balsamic reduction, and roasted baby kale, and the little gem caesar salad with parmesan, garlic, and fancy croutons.
I love a good caesar and I’d like to go on record and say: this is the appropriate amount of parmesan cheese for a fabulous salad. Wherever Sassetta sources their produce from is incredible. If you love fresh veggies, you will love the cuisine at Sassetta!
The crispy baby kale really made the burrata dish shine. I would have loved to have had some toast with it too but somehow we still managed to eat every bite.
The meatballs, surprisingly, were my favorite. I would never really think to order meatballs but Irene said the chef recommended them and wow, they’re a must! The whipped ricotta and herbs is a delectable touch and the presentation of the dish was gorgeous. The meatballs were perfectly seasoned and melt-in-your-mouth tender.
For lunch, Irene ordered a few dishes for us to share and try: olive-brined chicken piccata with angel hair pasta and pickled onions, gemelli pasta with Italian sausage, broccolini, broccoli cream, and and broccoli “breadcrumbs”, and filetti di pesce (fish sandwich) with polenta crust.
The gemelli pasta was an innovative dish. Here I thought I was the only person who loved broccoli in pasta! It had some heat from the Italian sausage and the broccoli breadcrumbs gave it a nice texture.
My favorite though was the chicken piccata, though I feel like it should have another name. It really doesn’t taste like a classic chicken piccata at all to me, but the chicken is wonderfully moist with a crispy skin. The pickled onions in the pasta were so fun and different!
The real show-stopper here was dessert. DO NOT leave without dessert. Don’t even consider it. Though a bit pricy at $16 a pop, the desserts at Sassetta are worth every bite. We ordered the salted caramel budino and olive oil lemon cake plus tea for Irene and a cappuccino for me.
To be quite frank, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the olive oil lemon cake because I’ve never met an olive oil cake that I liked…until today. I let out an audible gasp when I took a bite of Sassetta’s perfect little cake. As pretty as it is moist, dare I say I’d have this cake as my wedding cake. It’s that good. It’s the kind of dessert you eat on vacation and then dream about for thirty years. Love songs could be written about this cake. Just imagine the most moist, tender, zingy lemon cake you’ve ever had. One bite will transport you to the Amalfi coast. Am I still in Texas? Nothing can beat this.
That’s when I took a bite of the salted caramel budino. I had to close my eyes. I had to be alone with my budino for a moment. This is hands down the best salted caramel dessert I’ve ever had. Normally I find salted caramel desserts to be simply too salty but this is true salted caramel. They absolutely nailed it and the oat streusel and and fleur de sel take it over the top.
The next time you want a leisurely lunch in Dallas that’s sure to impress, consider a visit to The Joule’s Sassetta.