Italian is back in Uptown Dallas with the debut of Sallio Itallio, a restaurant newly opened at 3232 McKinney Ave., in the space next-door to Del Frisco's Grille most recently occupied by Patrizio.
A spin-off of Sallio Bistro, the Mediterranean restaurant at Preston Road and Forest Lane, Sallio Itallio comes from Larry and Karen Williams, who own Amberjax, the seafood spot at Trinity Groves.
One of the things they liked about the Patrizio space was its wood-burning brick oven; it inspired them to dive into Italian food. But they're also featuring the seafood for which Larry, the supervising chef, is known.
That means a menu with crab cakes and lemon sole side by side with rigatoni bolognese and eggplant parmesan. There are big chops like the 14-ounce New York strip steak with mashed potatoes and green beans, and a bone-in pork chop topped with bacon jam.
Spokesperson LC Carson says that the restaurant features Larry's flair for seafood but in a context that is Italian.
"There's fettucine alfredo, house-made pasta, pizzas, and calzones, it's geared towards southern Italian cuisine, but showcases Larry's ability to rock out an amazing pistachio-crusted trout on the specials menu," she says.
In addition to the menu, they have a board of 4 to 5 daily specials that change daily, with everything from short ribs to swordfish to pasta. "We're Italian, but it's not all carb-heavy food," Carson says.
That said, they have one traditional Italian dish that is already attracting a fan club.
"We do spaghetti alla carbonara with eggs where you drop an egg yolk onto the cooked pasta, and our customers have told us that there are not that many restaurants doing that," Carson says.
It definitely wasn't being done at Patrizio, which moved to the location in 2015, following the closure of Barter, which had been in the space for just under two years. Before Barter, it was Private Social, which started out as a showplace for Top Chef contestant Tiffany Derry, and then for quirky chef Najat Kaanache.
When Patrizio came in, it rolled out its trademark bordello glam, with chandeliers, black leather booths, and accents of gold. Sallio Itallio has toned that down, adding more of a grotto vibe with wall panels that summon images of southern Italy.
Lastly, there's weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays with seafood crepes, Italian sausage benedict, and mushroom-spinach ricotta frittatas — brunch being an essential element for Uptown success.