A new Italian restaurant opens on December 4 in an Oak Lawn building vying for a second chance. Called Mille Lire, the restaurant comes with a name-brand chef: Giuliano Matarese, who is opening the restaurant with business partner Brian Ellard at 3102 Oak Lawn Ave.
Mille Lire is part of an overall renovation of The Centrum, to make it more vital and accessible. It also represents another shot at a decent Italian restaurant in Dallas, something the city has had trouble with historically.
The restaurant occupies the corner of the building facing Cedar Springs Road and Welborn Street, previously home to worthy restaurants such as Bengal Coast and Manuel's Creative Cuisine that were unable to prosper in that space.
Mille Lire's ever-evolving menu combines various regional expressions of Italian cuisine with global influences, modern cooking techniques, and an emphasis on seasonality.
"At Mille Lire, we pair the rich, romantic history of Italian cuisine with a distinct, modern culinary style," Matarese says in a release. "Every element, from the restaurant's name and design to menu creation, was thoughtfully and meticulously crafted to deliver a nostalgic, memorable, and emotional experience to our guests."
A native of Naples, Matarese has appeared on cooking shows Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay, and worked at Charlie Palmer's Aureole restaurant in New York.
Menu highlights include antipasti such as lamb baby meatballs with broccoli rabe, feta, and tomato ragu; creamy polenta featuring truffled mushroom fricassee and poached farm egg; and tuna crudo with Taggiasca olives, Calabrian chili, and amatriciana sauce.
A pizza oven and pasta-maker imported from Italy aid the integrity of dishes such as tartufata pizza with mozzarella, black figs, truffle preserve, and honey; and saffron cavatelli with sea urchin, lump crab, and peperoncino.
Inspired items from the secondi portion of the menu include chianti braised short ribs with roasted root vegetables and celery root vellutata; and diver sea scallops with cauliflower purée, BBQ oxtail, and crispy grits.
The beverage menu features cocktails that blend Italian tradition with flavors and styles found in contemporary American cocktail culture. Highlights include the Italiano Mule with vodka, limoncello, fresh lime juice, ginger beer and rosemary; and Amarcord featuring Bulleit Bourbon, Italian vermouth, Grand Marnier, and Angostura Bitters.
The wine list offers a substantial selection of varietals from Italy and beyond, and beer offerings will include local, domestic, and international favorites.
Mille Lire is now open for dinner service, beginning at 5 pm daily. Lunch, happy hour, and weekend brunch will roll out in the coming weeks. Reservations can be made on OpenTable and by contacting the restaurant at 214-269-5200.