Where to Eat
Where to Eat

Where to eat in Dallas right now: 9 very fresh new restaurants for November

Where to eat in Dallas right now: 9 fresh new restaurants for November

Hawkers Asian Street Food
Hawkers steamed pork belly buns. Photo courtesy of Hawkers

This November edition of our monthly Where to Eat series is as fresh as it comes, with a list of restaurants so new that many have opened this week. Following a pandemic-induced logjam, Dallas is currently deluged with new restaurant openings, all at the same time. We the diners are the lucky beneficiaries, and it is our civic duty to get out there and try them all.

For this Where to Eat, these are 9 of the newest restaurants in town:

Elephant East
Latest concept from Harwood Hospitality Group, located at 2850 N. Harwood St., features a menu conceived by chef Thomas Griffin that incorporates his heritage and experience with dishes such as Korean fried chicken, served popcorn chicken-style; Singapore noodles with Chinese sausage, Napa cabbage, and snow peas; and boneless Korean short ribs with sticky rice. Their papaya salad has an unusual composition with sweet potatoes flakes, green beans, peanuts, and tomato. Don't skip desserts such as mochi-style doughnuts or a bubble waffle sundae.

Hawaiian Bros.
There's a cult following for the homey, filling Hawaiian plate lunch, a dish that combines pulled pork or teriyaki chicken with not one but two scoops of white rice and one scoop of macaroni salad — a real starchfest, nothing green on that plate at all. In recent years, DFW has seen a few independently-owned restaurants, most in the far suburbs, doing the plate lunch. But Hawaiian Bros., a growing chain founded in Kansas City, is expanding across Dallas-Fort Worth, with locations on Greenville Avenue, and in Frisco, Denton, and Fort Worth, all newly opened, with another location in Allen in the wings.

Hawkers Asian Street Fare
Pan-Asian restaurant concept founded in Florida that's all about street foods opens its first Texas location in Dallas in the former Curtain Club space at 2800 Main St. in Deep Ellum, on November 3. The menu features Malaysian, Thai, and Chinese cuisine including Korean wings, pad Thai, skewers of bulgogi chicken or satay chicken, cooked on a traditional hibachi grill. The bar will be shaking up sake and tiki-inspired cocktails, and they'll also host weekend brunch.

Hei Hei American Chinese
Appealing new restaurant in Lake Highlands is from the team behind Cedar & Vine, and it's hosting previews in the space that was most recently Atomic Pie pizza, with an opening coming this month. Hei Hei's American-Chinese dishes are familiar, but with a little twist. There’s stir-fry dishes to which you can add beef, chicken, or shrimp, such as spicy Hunan (with smoky spicy garlic sauce, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, & carrots), and Kung Pao, with chilies, peanuts, bell pepper, onion, and celery. Noodle dishes include drunken noodles with slow-cooked beef cheek, onion, and pepper Everything on the menu is supremely shareable, and they're also good to go.

Jeni's Prestonwood Place
This is dessert, not dinner, although some could make a meal of ice cream from this growing chain founded in Columbus, Ohio in 2002. They take a wholesome approach, using simple ingredients on a spectrum of flavors that range from the chocolate and vanilla basics you need, to creative options such as goat cheese with red cherries, and mango cheesecake swirl. This location in Addison is their second in the Dallas area, after opening in Deep Ellum in February 2021. They're also selling pints at Whole Foods, Central Market, Foxtrot, Cox Farms, and Berkley's Market, but nothing beats getting a cone in a shop.

Malai Kitchen
Dallas chain known for carefully crafted modern Thai and Vietnamese cuisine just opened a fourth location at 6130 Luther Ln. on November 2. Husband-and-wife owners Braden and Yasmin Wages try to showcase a different side of Southeast Asian cuisine, inspired by their travels through Thailand and Vietnam, on signature dishes such as Vietnamese-style meatballs and "Thai tacos," with choice of shrimp or pulled pork, served in a crispy wonton. This location has not had great luck over the years with its most recent occupant, Bartaco, felled by the pandemic. But if anyone can break the spell, it's Malai, which seems like the right fit for Preston Center.

Panda Express
Fast-casual chain founded in California may not be new, but they have an innovative new dish available only at a limited number of locations: It's a plant-based twist on their signature Original Orange Chicken, made with Beyond chicken chunks which very convincingly captures the texture and tangy-citrus flavor of the original Original Orange Chicken. Beyond chicken is on fire in the vegan world right now, and according to market research company Baum+Whiteman, vegan chicken on menus is the No. 3 top trend for 2022. Panda Express initially offered this in a trial run in New York and Los Angeles, and now it's available at 70 locations across the U.S., including Allen, Coit Road in Plano, Addison at Belt Line & Montfort, Garland, and Sunnyvale.

Pizza Gianna
Pizzeria at 5219 W. Lovers Ln. may have just opened but it comes with a rich and colorful history, dating back to 1956, when Pizza by Marco was founded at the corner of Preston Road and Royal Lane by Marco Nuccio. It quickly became a neighborhood favorite, supplying top-quality thin crust pizza and pasta, during a time when Dallas didn't have a lot of great pizza. In 1993, they had to change their name to My Family's Pizza, and then they were caught up in the 2019 tornado. But a team of lifelong fans intervened, partnering with Marco's son Frank, who had the original recipes in his possession, and they're back, slinging those pies again, but with a more 2021-style approach that includes online ordering and delivery.

Written By the Seasons
New Bishop Arts restaurant is from the folks who own nearby Tribal All Day Cafe, and they're continuing their healthy streak with a restaurant focused on changing with the seasons. They've recruited famed chef Dennis Kelley (Lark on the Park), with entrees such as chicken, 44 Farms steak, kimchi fried cauliflower, mahi-mahi steamed inside a banana leaf, and seafood stew. They have a full bar with a solid wine selection and fun cocktails like the Beetrita, sort of a cross between a cocktail and a smoothie, made with tequila, beet, apple lime, and ginger.