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Treasured Chinese restaurant in Dallas spawns spinoff at Star Frisco

Treasured Chinese restaurant in Dallas spawns spinoff at Star Frisco

Zhao Star Frisco Chinese lo mein
Zhao Star's beautiful lo mein. Photo courtesy of Zhao Star

A Chinese restaurant that's been putting out impeccable food for a decade now has a sibling in Frisco. Called Zhao Star China Bistro, it's a spinoff of Ming Place China Bistro, both owned by Grace Zhao and her family.

Ming Place has earned raves for its extensive menu which includes prototypical Chinese-American dishes as well as some authentic Chinese options, and Zhao Star is following that lead.

Everything is executed with care. On beef with broccoli, for example, the strips of flank steak are cut into bite-size ultra-tender slices, with broccoli the steamed to a vivid green. The dish also includes onions, garlic, and carrots all cooked to just the right degree of doneness: soft but with a little body remaining to let you appreciate the beauty of vegetables. It's a simple dish, perfectly executed.

Other Chinese-restaurant standards include Hunan chicken, honey sesame chicken, General Tso's chicken, mild yet pleasantly garlicky, and snow peas with chicken.

But Zhao has less common items include jalapeno chicken, consisting of chicken breast stir-fried with vegetables and jalapeno slices in just enouh quantity to add some welcome spicy heat; and Mandarin kung pao, combining chicken breast with vegetables, chiles, and peanuts.

A large selection of appetizers includes fried tofu, chicken lettuce wraps, chicken wings, and steamed dumplings, which are a Zhao specialty. Their soups, including wonton soup, chicken with corn, and hot & sour, have a following, and so do noodle dishes like Lo Mein.

There's another section on the menu with a slight fine-dining vibe, featuring dishes such as grilled salmon, honey walnut prawns, and salt & pepper chicken.

Zhao emigrated to Dallas in 1999 and opened Ming Place at 5750 Lemmon Ave. near the intersection of Inwood Road for 10 years before branching out to Frisco, where the selection of Chinese restaurants is still pretty limited.

It's not the ideal time to open a restaurant, but Zhao does lots of takeout, and the restaurant is earning high marks for its strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols including masks and frequent cleaning.

Customers also offer praise for the attentive staff, many of whom are members of Zhao's family.

"My family has helped me greatly," Grace says. "My daughter works the lunch shift, and I come back and forth from Dallas to Frisco for dinner. My sister helps me, too. My whole family is here."