Chef John Tesar’s Knife Italian Opens In The Ritz-Carlton Dallas, Las Colinas

Knife Italian opened at The Ritz-Carlton Dallas, Las Colinas on Tuesday, March 19, 2024
Chef John Tesar’s Knife Italian Embraces and Elevates Traditional Italian Cuisine
Photo: Samantha Marie Photography

Knife Italian, the latest culinary venture by Executive Chef and Restaurateur, John Tesar, opened its doors at the newly transformed The Ritz-Carlton Dallas, Las Colinas on Tuesday, March 19, 2024.

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Building on the success of his other Knife restaurant concepts, Knife Steakhouse in Dallas and Plano, TX, and the Michelin-starred Knife & Spoon at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes in Orlando, FL, Chef Tesar’s new Italian venture promises to transport diners to the heart of authentic Italian traditions.

Chef John Tesar’s upbringing on the Upper East Side of New York City is where his love affair between American and Italian cuisine began, and Knife Italian will narrate this deep-rooted history of Italian cuisine through each bite.

Known for his culinary innovation, he shares his vision for Knife Italian, stating in a statement, “When I created Knife Steakhouse a decade ago, my aim was to create a steakhouse for everyone. As the culinary landscape has evolved locally and nationally, diners are looking for a true dining experience that feels fresh and familiar, yet something unique that you don’t just get every day; and that is what we have curated with our newest restaurant concept.”

Rooted in authentic Italian tradition, Knife Italian draws on global inspiration and influence to create a progressive dining experience that starts with light and vibrant flavors and gradually leads to more hearty and robust options. Chef Tesar’s menu is designed with family-style dining in mind, enabling guests to enjoy an extensive array of dishes from his renowned repertoire of techniques and flavors.

“With Knife Italian, we have the incredible opportunity to build upon what we’ve created at Knife and Knife & Spoon and elevate it to new heights,” said Chef Tesar.

The menu begins with a selection of Crudi featuring offerings from the sea including Yellowtail, Texas grapefruit, roasted beets; Kingfish, mussel broth, caviar; King Salmon, avocado, green apple, nduja; and Maine Lobster, blood orange, mint. A special selection of Passmore Caviar specifically created for Knife Italian, and Oysters served with cucumber mignonette offer a way to enhance any meal.

Guests are also invited to choose from a selection of Antipasti including dishes such as Clams Oreganata; Veal Meatballs, tomato compote, ricotta; Duck Egg Omelet, San Diego uni, bottarga; and more. Additionally, all pastas are house made and made by hand daily. The pasta list include Squid Ink Bucatini, Mediterranean Mussels, spicy marinara; Lobster Agnolotti, lemon monte, lobster coral, butter poached lobster; Potato Gnocchi, blue crab, black truffle essence; and Goat Cheese Mezzaluna, orange and fennel.

In true Tesar style, the steak and meat program at Knife Italian serves as the focal point of the menu. With 44 Farms beef at centerstage, guests can enjoy Chef Tesar’s dry-aging techniques with steaks dry aged onsite ranging from 45-240 days, along with classics such as the 44 Farms Filet served plain or sauce Italian, a Neapolitan preparation consisting of thinly cut pan-fried steaks that are braised in a house made tomato sauce. Meanwhile, the Bistecca a la Las Colinas – an ode to the beloved Italian dish, Bistecca alla Fiorentina – serves as a centerpiece moment for the meal featuring a 48-ounce 44 Farms Dry Aged Porterhouse carved tableside.

A selection of pizzas rounds out the meal offering a sharable dish for the entire table. Guests can expect creative enhancements to classic recipes with a distinct Tesar spin with a Neapolitan style dough including the Margarita; White Clam; Potato, Truffle, Duck Egg; Lobster; and Meatball & Italian Sausage.

Chef Tesar adds, “Throughout the menu is an undertone of localism, celebrating local ranchers and purveyors and showcasing our dedication to sourcing the finest, freshest ingredients.”

Knife Italian’s beverage program offers an exploration of Italy, with an in-depth wine list that highlights producers from throughout Italy, both those deeply rooted in tradition and newcomers utilizing new techniques. There is also an extensive selection of California bottles, with an emphasis on Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, complemented by Champagne, Burgundy and Bordeaux. A collection of Amari includes bottles from the most celebrated regions of Italy.

The cocktail program blends the flavors and styles of classic Italian cocktails but with a Texan spin and includes drinks such as Night Train to Milan, a Negroni spin with Gin, Campari, Vermouth, Tonic; Il Posto with Malfy Gin, Cocchi di Torino, Campari, Pistachio, Passionfruit, Italian Mandarin, Orgeat, Lime; Savage Gringo with Campari, Sombra Mezcal, coffee infused dry vermouth, Cinzano Bianco, Absinthe; La Strada with Vodka, Gin, Limoncello, Royal Combier, lemon, lemonade; and Swept Away combining Fusion Verjus Blanc, Wyoming Double Cask and High West Campfire Whiskeys, and Nixta Corn Liqueur served in a porthole inspired vessel.

The 170-seat restaurant features an eclectic theme seamlessly tied together by the expert design vision of design agency Schoos Design. “Old fashioned modernism – that’s what you get when entering Knife Italian,” says Thomas Schoos, Founder of Schoos Design, Inc. “Imagine you’ve just stepped into a Fellini movie…only it’s in color.”

As guests step into the restaurant, they are greeted by a burst of vibrant hues, from a striking magenta sofa to towering palm trees, all tied together by original artwork by Thomas Schoos. From there, guests are guided to a choice of the Pink Champagne Bar or the main dining rooms. The champagne bar features a psychedelic sofa, birds-eye maple side table, and a pink bubble light fixture, drawing guests in with its intimate yet dynamic ambiance.

Stepping into the main dining room, a sculptural black and white striped table serves as the focal point in the space, with Papier Mache lanterns floating softly from the high ceilings. Curved caramel banquettes hug the walls in sensuous lines to allow for both larger and smaller dinner parties. Meanwhile, in the adjoining solarium, oversized wicker banquettes create a bird’s nest-like environment, cradling both larger parties, as well as cozy couples.

As guests step further through the dining room, they will discover another dining room with a fully exposed kitchen. The exposed barbecue and pizza oven is adorned in slick pink tiles and ribbon-like wood paneling. Just beyond the exposed kitchen, a large wine cellar sets the backdrop for a grand private dining room.

Knife Italian provides a group dining opportunity, featuring two private dining spaces suitable for parties of 10 and 16 guests respectively. For larger groups exceeding 16, the restaurant can arrange private dining opportunities within one of Knife Italian’s dining rooms.

Knife Italian will also serve breakfast and lunch seven days a week. For breakfast, guests will have the opportunity to embark on two distinct culinary journeys: Italiano and Americano. The Italiano menu option will allow guests to enjoy classic Italian breakfast options, while the Americano breakfast will offer a traditional American breakfast. Meanwhile, lunch will showcase key items from the dinner menu along with some lighter fare, such as paninis, specialty salads, and more.

Knife Italian is open seven days a week for breakfast (6:30-11am), lunch (11am-2pm), and dinner (5-10pm). Reservations will be available on Opentable.

Lisa Hay

Lisa Hay

Lisa is a staff reporter for What Now Media Group. She covers new restaurant, retail, and real estate openings across all of our markets. A true foodie, this Air Force veteran has lived all over the world — from Aviano, Italy to Nairobi, Kenya — but her favorite spot is NOLA for its rich history, architecture, culture, and of course, its good eats.
Lisa Hay

Lisa Hay

Lisa is a staff reporter for What Now Media Group. She covers new restaurant, retail, and real estate openings across all of our markets. A true foodie, this Air Force veteran has lived all over the world — from Aviano, Italy to Nairobi, Kenya — but her favorite spot is NOLA for its rich history, architecture, culture, and of course, its good eats.

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