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Take a look inside Il Bracco restaurant, which has quietly opened in Dallas


 

crispy artichokes with olive aioli

bucatini cacio e pepe

mafaldine pasta Bolognese

The first thing you notice about Il Bracco , the tiny new Preston Center Dallas restaurant from Houston’s/Hillstone veterans Robert Quick and Matt Gottleib, is how pretty the space is – soft cafe au lait leather benches, black leather seats, dark wood tables, herringbone terrazzo tiles in desert jewel tones, and plenty of white marble, frosted glass and colorful accents like fruit bowls, stacked books and oversized framed art.

Then you’ll appreciate the one-page menu. Plenty to choose from, but tight enough that you won’t be the least bit indecisive. Feel like a salad? Or maybe a burger? There they are. Fried artichokes with aioli and lemon? Yes, you absolutely should.

Fresh pastas? Yep, you can order the cacio e pepe, which arrives perfectly al dente, though the grated pecorino cheese hasn’t quite melted into a proper sauce. But instead, order the mafaldine Bolognese pasta, fresh wavy ribbons sauced with a lovely Bolognese-style ragu of pork, beef and lamb.

 Il Bracco’s porchetta with “herb salad,” except arugula and white onions aren’t herbs. And $32!

 Il Bracco’s porchetta sandwich

Until the chefs can rework the recipe, stay away from the porchetta. served as a dinner entree or sandwich. Il Bracco’s version of porchetta appears and tastes like little more than a brined, oven-roasted pork loin with its skin still intact rather than a proper Italian version stuffed with rough-chopped herbs and garlic and whose skin arrives shatteringly crackly.  Personal preference? Yes, but until their recipe changes, trust me on this one. 

Il Bracco is already crowded with locals checking out the new place, so expect it to be even busier next week when it “officially” announces its opening. Give it a try. Then give it a few weeks to gel. The place has great potential to be more than just the neighborhood Hillstone competitor it hopes to be.

Oh, and this is what a proper porchetta looks like:

here’s what a proper porchetta looks like

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