Dallas' 50 Most Interesting Restaurants, No. 41: Russian Banya

Tony_G.jpg
Catherine Downes
Tony G. says: You're going to need some vodka.
Leading up to our annual Best of Dallas® issue, we're counting down the 50 most interesting restaurants in Dallas. These spots bring something unique or compelling to the city's dining scene, feeding both your appetite and soul. Find more interesting places on our all-new Best Of app for iTunes or Android.

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This Week's Review: Finding Salvation in Carrollton's Russian Banya

Meet Tony G., the owner and operator of the Russian Banya in Carollton. His bathhouse has a reputation for having what feels like one of the hottest saunas on the planet, but the place would be better served if it were known as the best Russian restaurant in DFW.

Where else can you get plates of cold smoked fish with house-baked pumpernickel, and a plate of pickled vegetables, which makes the perfect vodka chaser? (You did bring vodka, yes? The Banya is a BYOB.)

And the servings are massive, so you should come with a few friends so a single dish doesn't ruin your appetite. There are dumplings made from scratch and steamed to order, and you're going to want to sample more than one. The pelmini will seduce you with a savory beef filling and rich butter broth. Or maybe you're in the mood for vareniki, which are stuffed with a smooth potato purée like pierogi.

Whatever you order be sure to save room for dessert. As I left the spa one day I noticed a woman rolling out impossibly thin pastry on a wooden board. She draped the dough over a sheet pan and then baked it until it was crisp. She made scores of these sheets, and then alternated them between layers of cream filling and honey for a massive dessert. Besides the honey cake there are baklava the size of a deck of cards and meringues the size of softballs.

That all this is served along side a sauna that will roast you at 200 degrees, and a wooden-barrel plunge pool that will shock you with near-freezing water makes the Banya an interesting place to be. It might be the most interesting restaurant around.

Russian Banya, 2515 East Rosemeade Parkway Suite 401, 214-483-5050

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Catherine Downes

No. 50: Joyce and Gigi's

No. 49: East Hampton Sandwich Co.
No. 48: 20 Feet Seafood Joint
No. 47: Taj Chaat House
No. 46: Mot Hai Ba
No. 45: La Nueva Fresh and Hot
No. 44: Pera Turkish Kitchen
No. 43: Tom's Burgers and Grill
No. 42: Mughlai

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4 comments
TLS1
TLS1

We went a couple of years ago as a party of 7 and had a really interesting time.   The food was quite good but came out at various times, even when we ordered two of something.  The meal took close to 3 hours to get all that we ordered and eat so know that going in.  We recently tried to reserve a table for 18 (for a Thursday with ten days notice) and was told no, that they couldn't handle that many people unless we all ordered just one or two things in advance.  So know that going in as well.  It isn't a typical restaurant you just walk into.  It's more like going to someone's home.  

scott.reitz
scott.reitz moderator editor

@TLS1 I have a full review coming up this afternoon and address the many quirks of the Russian Banya.

pifia.genesis
pifia.genesis

The khachapuri (cheese bread) is a MUST MUST MUST.

foodprick
foodprick

My parents immigrated to this country from Ukraine and I've grown up eating my mom's home recipes...I can say this place is absolutely legit.  Everything is made from scratch, just like my mom used to make and it is some of the best Ukrainian/Russian food I've ever had.  My mom would be proud...go there, go now.  FoodPrick approved.


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