Sassetta perfects the art of leisurely, springtime afternoons.
If you haven’t made your way to Sassetta, well, then do so a presto. A beloved local favorite hailing from the Design District, Sassetta opened in its new home at The Joule last year. And with warm service, handmade pastas, and a lively-but-refined aesthetic, every effort has been made to capture the spirit of la dolce vita. You’ll be transported by the eclectic space designed by local ELLE Décor A-lister, Jean Liu that fuses contemporary design with artisan-crafted elements like custom-glazed il Buco Vita dishes and hand-blown, winged decanters.
“Sassetta signifies a fusion of traditional and contemporary in its approach to Italian cuisine, and we used this to inform our approach,” explains Liu. “We sought to emphasize the connection to Italy’s rich history through the design elements.”
Commissioned from British interiors firm de Gournay, an abstract mural depicting the rolling hills and peaked mountains of the restaurant’s namesake town in Tuscany, sets the scene for leisurely aperitivos.
Executive Chef Mat Urban’s modern interpretations of Italian dishes perfectly complement the heavenly surroundings. New for spring, Urban presents a lunch lineup that seamlessly blends flavors of the Mediterranean with influences from Spain, Southern France, and Northern Africa. From Charred Octopus with salsa verde to Tuna Tartare and Roasted Mushroom Salad (which takes a full three hours of prep time), dishes are light, colorful, and brimming with vegetables native to Texas.
“Everything is made in-house with seasonal ingredients that vary based on what local farms are able to provide,” says Urban. “I think the Tuna Tartare best represents spring. It’s dressed in a port wine-based vinegar syrup and fresh strawberry puree, balanced by a fava bean salad. It’s finished with light-as-air homemade polenta chips made from heirloom corn out of Dripping Springs, Texas.”
Heartier options more evocative of old-world Italian fare include the Sopressata Pizza with shaved coppa that’s been marinated for five days, hand-rolled Gnocchi with Italian sausage, and can’t-believe-it’s vegetarian Lasagna Rotolo featuring swirling layers of bechamel, lemony kale, crimini mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, and tomato sauce. Though new to the menu, the spicy rigatoni has quickly become a best seller.
During lunch, enjoy $5 glasses of rosé and the Lunch Pronto! feature, which includes a half salad with your choice of any pasta or pizza for $25. (On Fridays, select bottles of wine are half-off.) And when a leisurely midday break beckons—it’s the Italian way, after all—stop by for the new Aperitivo Menu featuring special pricing on pizzas, craft cocktails, and curated wines by the glass.
On the weekends, catch Spritz Saturday for a special lineup of Italian spritzes. (Chef recommends the Paradiso Spritz, “a bright and bubbly blend of Italicus bergamot liqueur, lavender soda, and prosecco.” But, by all means, stay a while because all the new spritzes are sublimely suited to the long, beautiful spring days that lie ahead.
The Details: Sassetta, 1530 Main Street. Complimentary valet at The Joule with validation. Reservations are recommended, but walk-in seating is available.