Dallas Goes Loco for Saint Rocco’s



3011 Gulden Lane #100

Monday – Thursday  5 p.m.. – 10 p.m.

Friday–Saturday  5 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Sunday  5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

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Trinity Groves, the restaurant, retail, artist and entertainment complex located by the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in West Dallas, recently added Italian to their palate with a new restaurant: Saint Rocco’s New York Italian. Restaurant legend Phil Romano, known for EatZi’s and Romano’s Macaroni Grill, opened Saint Rocco’s with Executive Chef and co-owner Jay Valley. The restaurant celebrates Italian-American cuisine.

On my first visit with my family in tow, I made my way to Trinity Groves around 7 p.m. on a Thursday night earlier this month. Saint Rocco’s faces the spectacular Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and the outside patio has festive string lights and overhanging oak trees.

Taking advantage of the beautiful October weather, we decided to sit in the outdoor patio though the inside of the restaurant had plenty of seating. Vintage photographs line the indoor walls, black-and-white subway tile covers the floors and the attractive kitchen is opened for diners to see.

The mix of classic Italian-American music including “That’s Amore” drowned out the noise of the passing cars. We browsed the menu that was split into appetizers, flatbreads, salads and entrees, along with a nameless soup of the week. If interested in the soup, ask the waiter, who will list the ingredients. For the most part, all the dishes ranged from $10-$40.

To start the meal, we ordered carpaccio served with mouthwatering meat and zesty arugula, freshly topped with Italian parmesan cheese and capers, which provided a pleasant salty tang.

The restaurant’s menu, however, does not give vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free customers many options. But their salads are not ordinary. I ordered the strawberry arugula salad with grilled balsamic strawberries.

Along with the slow and infrequent service we experienced on our first visit, the server brought me the wrong salad. Five minutes later, the waiter arrived with my dish, which had a kick in the back of my throat from the heavy balsamic dressing and the sweet strawberries.

We also ordered different flatbreads for the table: a deconstructed and unconventional Sicilian lasagna with tossed noodles, sausage and ragu, and a braised pork. The portions were generous and the plates were good to share.

Starting around 7:30 p.m., diners flocked the restaurant and soon every table became filled. Toward the end of our dinner, our table finished the evening with the chocolate espresso cake, which I recommend if you like both chocolate and espresso as their tastes are very evident in this cake.

After leaving Saint Rocco’s, I immediately planned a second trip to the restaurant with my parents. On a Saturday night in mid-October, we returned to Saint Rocco’s around 6 p.m. It’s a good idea to make a reservation ahead of time.

The second time around was even better! Speedy service, fresh food and an entertaining waiter satisfied our evening.

I struggled to put down the crunchy margherita flatbread at the beginning of dinner. My dad and I chose to order cannolis for dessert this time. For my first time trying a cannoli, the chocolate chips and bittersweet cream filling satisfied my appetite.

Soon after, I started planning a third trip.

Saint Rocco’s was a nice break from the traditional Italian restaurants in Dallas, mainly serving pizza and conventional takes on pasta. However, if Italian is not your preference, the restaurants at Trinity Groves range from tapas to barbeque to Japanese. There, everyone can find something they like to eat!

According to the Saint Rocco Society of Potenza, the protector against the plague and all contagious diseases is most celebrated by Italians. With the immigration of Italians into New York, the celebration and feast of Saint Rocco celebrated in August followed. Now, it has arrived in West Dallas.

The bottom of the menu reads “If Saint Rocco were here eating with us today, he would say… ‘Jesus Christ, This Food is Good!” I definitely cannot argue.

– Maria Harrison – Asst. Perspectives Editor