Where to Eat
Where to Eat

Where to eat in Dallas right now: 10 Asian restaurant finds for March

Where to eat in Dallas right now: 10 Asian restaurant finds for March

Skewers are a big thing right now. Photo courtesy of Friendship BBQ

For this edition of our monthly Where to Eat, we hand the microphone to what has become a priceless source of intel for diners in Dallas-Fort Worth: the Facebook page called Asian Grub in DFDUB.

The page was founded during the height of the pandemic, as a way to support and uplift Southeast/East Asian owned businesses around Dallas-Fort Worth. "A lot of people have friends and family that are in the dining/restaurant industry and are struggling to stay afloat during this COVID-19 pandemic. So hopefully this platform can help them in any way," their mission says.

Since their debut in March 2020, they've amassed 48,495 members (as of March 23, 2022), with multiple posts per day, sharing reviews, tips about new openings, and occasionally seeking advice such as "what's the best thing to order at Sushi Sake?"

Restaurants say they enjoy an infusion of business after they've been shared on the page. It provides one fantastic discovery after another, showing how vibrant and varied DFW's dining scene has become.

With the idea that not everyone is on Facebook or has the time to regularly comb through the page, this edition of Where to Eat highlights some of the recent finds brought to light by the diligent members of Asian Grub/DFW:

Cafe HwaSan
Newly opened Korean-owned restaurant at 2001 Coit Rd. in Plano serves brunch and lunch, plus coffee, espresso drinks, and teas, including ceremonial-grade matcha. They specialize in American and Korean dishes, with lots of fun fusion items such as bulgogi tacos, kimchi bacon fries, salmon toast, Korean-style fried chicken, waffles, thick Japanese-style pancakes, benedicts, burgers, "hangover ramen," and loaded fries. The atmosphere is casual and you're encouraged to order a coffee and hang out.

Chaya Japanese
Small mom-and-pop Japanese restaurant opened in December in Plano off Legacy Drive, just west of US-75 at 6900 Alma Dr., where it's serving carefully-prepared sushi, sushi rolls, hand rolls, tempura, and sake. It's a small space with an even smaller staff, but the husband-and-wife owners provide doting (if sometimes slow) service. Everything is prepared to order, and they also do a bargain omakase, where you leave the choices up to the chef, a foodie amenity that can often cost $100 or more, but here a 5-course version is around $30.

Fat Ni BBQ Skewer House
Authentic Chinese street food — especially meat on skewers — is the thing at this restaurant, which has two locations, Carrollton and Plano which opened in 2021. You name the critter and body part, and you can get it on a skewer here, and that includes a number of organ meats: shrimp, wings, Taiwan sausage, chicken gizzards, beef tendon, pork belly, chicken hearts, squid, and lamb. Skewers range from $1.75 to $3.50 depending on what you order. They also have pita bread and Chinese buns, plus $3 bottled and draft beer.

Friendship BBQ
Friendship BBQ was founded in 2017 in Flushing, New York, and is currently in franchise mode. It's a casual Asian BBQ joint serving skewers, grilled oysters, and shellfish such as crab, crawfish, lobsters, and more, and opened in Legacy Plaza, just west of US-75 at 240 Legacy Dr. #306 in Plano. You can order skewers or big platters of food, all to share, similar to tapas. Skewers include lamb, Wagyu, grilled quail, squid, and popular organ meats such as tendon, pork belly, gizzards, chicken heart, chicken feet, kidney, pork intestines, and beef tripe.

Mo' Bettahs Hawaiian Style
Fast-casual restaurant chain from Utah whose signature is the foodie specialty known as the Hawaiian plate lunch just opened in Texas in Plano, 1801 Preston Road, #B, where its selection includes teriyaki chicken, teriyaki steak, kalua pig, pulehu chicken, deep-fried katsu chicken, or shrimp tempura — served with sides of macaroni salad and steamed rice. Plano is the second DFW location, following its location in northeast Dallas which opened in November 2021.

Scoop N' Buns
Husband-and-wife Gerardo and Zoya Hernandez founded this ice cream and dessert shop in 2021 with a goal to bring something cool to the heart of Garland. They transformed an old thrift shop in Garland's downtown space where they're serving ice cream and Filipino desserts and treats. Ice cream comes in flavors both authentic and gourmet such as sweet corn, horchata, goat cheese, ube, and vegan jackfruit. (Don't worry, they have vanilla and strawberry, too.) They also feature wonderful treats such as churros filled with ube jam, rolled in ube-cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar & ube glaze. They also host food truck pop-ups such as a recent one starring the birria tacos of La TacoTrona.

Swamp Cafe
Asian-owned Cajun Creole restaurant was opened in far north Dallas three years ago by David Cui, a native of Shanghai who was a chef in New Orleans before moving to Dallas. His menu includes classics such as po' boys, oysters, gumbo, and etoufee, and fans love them because of the generous quantity of seafood, with "heaps" of crawfish, shrimp, and crab. Don't forget the beignets, which they serve with a caramel sauce that is said to take it to another level.

Texas Pho House
Fast-casual Vietnamese pho spot opened in February next to the 99 Ranch in Frisco at 9144 Prestmont Pl. #200. While Dallas-Fort Worth has plenty of pho to go around these days, the Frisco area is short on Vietnamese options and the portions at Texas Pho House are generous, which helps soften the fact that the prices here are a little higher than usual. The wow dish that's bringing them in is the "massive champion bowl," an amusingly large mega-sized pho for $50 that feeds six.

Teaholic Teahouse
Don't be confused by the fact that Teaholic Teahouse & Restaurant starts off with "tea." They do serve boba teas, coffees, and smoothies, but they also serve traditional Thai, Chinese, and Vietnamese dishes and snacks. There's steak pho and meatball pho, plus popcorn chicken, Cajun fries, garlic fries, and Cajun wings. There are also numerous noodle dishes including garlic noodles with shaken beef, Mongolian noodles, and pad Thai; and more than a dozen rice dishes such as seafood fried rice, pineapple fried rice, and wings  with garlic rice. End it with a horchata mocha smoothie that feels like dessert.

Yeon-Gil Seafood & Kebabs
Unique newbie is another skewer-happy restaurant that just opened near 99 Ranch in Frisco at 9144 Prestmont Pl. #250. Their menu is in both Chinese and English, with more than 30 skewer options, plus noodles, fried rice, hot pots, and seafood boils, plus some extra-authentic items such as frog, a favorite in Shanghai. The atmosphere is kind of clubby, with neon and a stage with a karaoke machine and big screen, should you wish to put on a show.