Long-time Dallas chef and restaurateur Julian Barsotti’s latest restaurant has taken over the site of long-gone Strictly Tabu, the legendary jazz and pizza haunt. His menu of shareable dishes includes pasta and pizza as well as Italian-inspired delicacies prepared with novel twists. Curvy banquettes, velvet curtains, and a beautiful mirrored bar lend the dimly lit restaurant a swanky, clubby vibe. On weekends around 9, there’s live music—another throwback to the Strictly Tabu era. We started with complimentary mozzarella-stuffed and fried Castelvetrano olives, the perfect complement to our cocktails. After that we indulged in a parade of plates, starting with shaved hearts of palm salad served on a grilled avocado half with a serrano-basil vinaigrette. We went in a heartier direction with lamb meatballs atop dollops of tzatziki sauce and basil-infused olive oil, crowned with pickled cucumber. Then we were drawn to Crispy Rice—think risotto given a fried-rice treatment, with lobster, zucchini, Calabrian chile oil, and a fried squash blossom concealing an egg yolk. After a break, we somehow found room for three more specialties. The first was scallops Rockefeller, the velvety shellfish unconventionally topped with lemony hollandaise and crispy speck. Then we went classic with the lasagnette—an individual lasagna bolognese—and a white clam pizza. A generous and silky vanilla panna cotta topped with blackberries made the perfect finale.
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Imaginative shareable plates, pizza, and pasta served in a club-like dining room with live music.