Restaurants keep opening around Dallas every day, and fortunately not all of them are humdrum fried chicken (even if it sometimes feels that way). This roundup of new openings, nearly all with an Asian theme, is far from humdrum. There is pho in McKinney, Thai in Arlington, and hot pot in Carrollton. There's a cool ice cream place and a global taco place.
Here are nine newly opened restaurants to add to your repertoire:
Alley Noodle Bar
Pho comes to McKinney, in this small indie restaurant, with a menu featuring a dozen cleverly named options such as What the Pho (with steak and brisket), Pho The Luv of God (with steak and Vietnamese meatballs), and good PHOu (veggie pho in a mushroom broth). Starters include "Back Alley Wings," popcorn chicken (made with thigh meat), and the addictive Fried Tofu. There are also noodle dishes and sugarcane drinks. Portions are generous and flavors are potent. The restaurant has eight to 10 tables, but does oodles of takeout. 7701 Stacy Rd. #700 McKinney, 469-625-1110.
Small, independently run Vietnamese restaurant comes to Plano, inside the H-Mart Food Court. The menu at this "corner tea shop" consists of tea, pho, rice, noodles, and desserts, plus every week, owner Michelle Mai rolls out a couple of specials. There are wings, banh mi, and four varieties of pho including chicken, beef short ribs, and seafood. There are three items that you must order in advance, including chicken rice porridge with fresh ginseng. A big selection of Vietnamese desserts includes pandan waffles, tropical fruits with coconut milk, and a showpiece Vietnamese fruit salad served inside a whole coconut containing tapioca, palm seeds, jackfruit, and jelly (it's #34 on the menu). H-Mart Plano Food Court, 3320 K Ave., Plano, 972-881-0300.
New Chinese restaurant in Carrollton has well-executed versions of classics like garlic beef, kung pao shrimp, orange chicken, lo mein, and fried rice. Their goal is to do Chinese food with the feeling of home cooking comfort food, and to that end, they have two menus, one in English and another in Chinese. Diners are enthralled by their radish cake — not something that you find at every Chinese place; theirs has a flaky crust and comes filled with shredded radish and green onion. They have scallion and chive pancakes, plus dumplings in pork, chicken, beef, and shrimp, or a vegan veggie version with carrots, cabbage, and mushrooms. Saturday nights are a treat, when they host a traditional Chinese music (erhu) performance at 7:30 pm. 3412 E. Hebron Pkwy., Carrollton. 469-984-1507.
Churn N Bake
Newly opened ice cream place in Plano, at 15th and Independence, has an incredible variety of unique flavors, many Asian-inspired, all creative, including birthday cake, cereal killer, lavender honey, French toast churro, ube coconut crunch, mango sticky rice, peach cobbler with cobbler pie bites, Nutella ice cream with chopped up Kinder Bueno bars, lychee almond sorbet swirled with fresh lychee chunks, and Texas toffee pecan with caramel swirls, which you can get in a "bubble cone" or a regular waffle cone. Friendly service. 2707 W 15th St #C, Plano. 469-277-6098.
New global fusion taco concept is just opening in Bedford, where it's doing a diverse menu of gourmet tacos. It's a second venture from chef Chetra Chau, of Chetra's Kitchen Grill & Bistro in Bedford, who has created a global fusion taco spot incorporating French, Japanese, Southern BBQ, southern East Asian, and Mexican influences. Options include banh mi taco, "beef Wellington" taco (with tenderloin and mushrooms), Philly cheese taco, Korean-style bulgogi taco, and a vegan taco with tempura tofu. A full bar includes martinis, margaritas, and craft beer, quaffable inside or on their outdoor patio. 2807 Central Dr., Bedford, 682-503-6373.
Fat Straws Boba & Mochi Donuts Arlington
Terry and Jennifer Pham opened the first Fat Straws in Plano in 2002. It started out as a boba tea shop before introducing mochi doughnuts, the bubbly-looking confections with a delectably chewy texture, in 2018. The centerpiece is milk tea, the traditional bubble tea combining sweetened black or green tea and milk or non-dairy creamer with chewy tapioca balls, plus fruit teas, smoothies, milkshakes, and coffee. This Arlington location is their fifth, and the first with a drive-thru window for boba on-the-go. 4001 Matlock Rd. #141, Arlington, 817-260-0870.
I Love Juice Bar Garland
Fresh made smoothies, juice, bowls, soups, and healthy food have landed in Garland via this Nashville-based chain whose goal is to create a community hub for health and wellness. Even reading the descriptions of their menu items makes you feel good, like this fire-roasted vegetable soup: carrots, green beans, zucchini & yellow squash, onions, red bell peppers, and corn, blended with diced tomatoes and roasted red peppers for a fiery, yummy soup. They use whole fruits and veggies and never pad their smoothies with ice. The location has a pleasing decor with slatted wood and an ivy-covered wall with a neon sign for Instagramming. This is the third location for owner Sohail Basirat, who debuted the first in Lakewood at 7324 Gaston Ave. in 2017, followed by a second location at the Shops at Park Lane. 3630 N Shiloh Rd #208, Garland.
Real Thai Cuisine
Newly opened family-owned Thai restaurant in Arlington is getting raves for its authentic food, doting service, and sparkling atmosphere. They have a big variety of items on the menu, some of which offer a fun twist on Thai staples such as serving Tom Kha soup in a bowl with a burner at the center to keep it hot. The papaya salad combo, served with chicken wings, pork skewers, and sticky rice, is a popular order, as is the Kana Moo Krob (Chinese broccoli with crispy pork belly). There are curries, skewers, noodle soups, stir-fried noodle dishes, and fried rice. Last but not least, it's BYOB. 2230 S. Collins St., Arlington, 682-252-7136.
Volcano Hot Pot
Small chain based in Tallahassee, Florida just opened its first DFW location in Carrollton, where it's serving a fun, slightly gimmicky version of AYCE (all you can eat) hot pot, the gimmick being that there's a conveyor belt that runs through the center of the restaurant, from which you pluck a bowl, then head to the accompanying buffet. You select your soup base from a selection of seven offerings such as original, spicy, herbal, tomato, and miso, then add ingredients from the the buffet, where you can also choose dipping sauces. You bring the broth to a boil, then cook, season with sauces, and eat. It's $30 for adults. They're also opening a location in the Houston area in Sugarland. 2528 Old Denton Rd. #180 Carrollton, 469-289-3098.