Two of New York City's most famous restaurants from Major Food Group, a hospitality firm based in New York, have taken Dallas by storm.
Carbone Vino, an all-new sister concept set to open in the former Wheelhouse space next to Carbone, will follow in the next few weeks.
Major Food Group co-founder Jeff Zalaznik spoke to CultureMap about all three concepts. Let’s consider them one by one in order of opening.
Pitched as an "all-day restaurant," Sadelle's, located in the former Royal Blue Grocery space at Highland Park Village, takes its inspiration from New York's delis and diners as well as classic lunch spots like Fred's and Barney's. The menu runs the gamut from freshly made bagels paired with salmon that's smoked and cured in-house to chopped salads, sandwiches, steak, and seafood.
"Someplace you can enjoy yourself from morning to night, from coffee to tequila on all fronts," Zalaznick says. "If you go to any diners, Greek, Jewish, name your background, you’d probably find all these dishes on the menu. It truly has a New York soul. That comes from that amalgamation of different cuisines."
To suit Texan tastes, Sadelle's added breakfast tacos to its menu. Wrapped in tortillas from La Norteña Tortillas, they're available with chorizo, bacon, sausage, or avocado.
"We tried to add touches as necessary to make sure what the local market wants is there. So far it's been an amazing response," he says.
The menu can be tricky to navigate, and prices are not cheap. Avocado toast is $18, benedicts are $26, and scrambled eggs with Russian caviar is $80.
Zalaznick cites a few favorite dishes, including the "leo," a scallion and onion omelet topped with smoked salmon; Cobb salad with blue cheese dressing; and the burger. Those looking for a lighter option at dinner may consider the roasted salmon with tomato vinaigrette.
"That’s what’s amazing to me about the restaurant," he says. "Even as the owner who's eaten there hundreds of times, I’m always happy to go there for any meal."
First opened in New York in 2012, Carbone is known almost as much for its service as its food. Dallas, which is located in the former Sassetta space at 1617 Hi Line Dr., will be the fifth location, joining outposts in Hong Kong, Las Vegas, and Miami, and a quick glance at the Dallas location's online reservation service shows that almost every available booking in April has already been claimed.
Working with partners Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi, Zalaznick says the menu combines "a lifetime of tasting, eating and analyzing" dishes like veal parmesan, spicy rigatoni, Caesar salad (prepared tableside), and more. Zalaznick knows the restaurant opens with high expectations that come from its New York outpost holding one Michelin star. But he's confident Dallasites will embrace what Carbone has to offer — even despite a longtime local reluctance to support fine-dining Italian (and fine-dining prices such as the $43 lobster ravioli, $72 veal marsala, and $18 side of artichoke hearts).
"We don’t want it to be something you've never seen before," he says. "We want it to be something you’ve seen 100 times but the the best version of it. That's all in the nuance and the detail."
Part of what sets Carbone apart is its old school service, which is led by tuxedo-wearing captains, who are charged with helping guide diners through their meals.
"We embraced and studied that midcentury style of service before fine dining became very robotic and restrictive," Zalaznick says. "It was much more outgoing and engaging. Formal, from the uniform to the style, but much more engaging, much more fun."
Previewing Carbone Vino
Slated to open in the coming weeks, Carbone Vino is an all-new concept built around wine, pizza, gelato, and more. Partially inspired by Northern Italy and Tuscany, Zalaznick says it will serve many of Carbone’s most popular dishes but in a more casual atmosphere.
“The one thing about Carbone is it never changes,” he says. “I think the nice thing about Carbone Vino is its allowed us to do some new stuff that we’ve always wanted to do under the Carbone brand and do it right next door. It provides another Carbone experience.”
Pizza will be at the heart of that experience. The square-shaped pies will use a light, airy crust. Asked about the inspiration, Zalaznick calls it “Carbone-style” that’s distinct from classic forms like Neapolitan or New York.
“You’ll have to come try it out,” he says. “It’s a pretty unique style of pizza.”