A Guide to Eating in Carrollton, Which Is Much Nicer Than It Sounds

Categories: Best Of Dallas

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Kimchi: Stylish Korean Kitchen via Facebook
Kimchi Kitchen's cold-smoked pork belly
As a resident of Carrollton, I feel like we get a raw deal in the media. We're not in any of those fancy things about the neighborhoods, because there are apparently just too many regions of Plano, our sprawling neighbor. Bizarrely little is written about our thriving K-Town, our downtown is walkable, and it's a 20-minute commute if you ignore rush hour and your car's suspension can survive I-35.

We also, among the many, many chains, have some hidden gems of restaurants that you might not have visited. While the downtown has a couple of decent local chains (Twisted Root and Babe's), the sprawling northern 'burbs, where Carrollton meets Lewisville meets Plano meets Coppell, is where the real action is.

First of all, you would have to be literally insane not to enjoy Omi (2625 Old Denton Road #326) and its dazzling array of Korean barbecue, all of which you cook yourself at your little table-grill thing. They even have an all-you-can-eat meat buffet, which suggests this is a chain-style quantity over quality. That is not the case. The brisket, pork, chicken, and so forth is all marinated beautifully and brought to the table needing only the lightest little bit of heating. Oh, and it's $18.99 per person. For infinity delicious meat. One of the bargains of DFW.

See also: Dallas' 50 Most Interesting Restaurants - Omi

Next door to Omi is the recently opened Kimchi: Stylish Korean Kitchen, which has a cold smoking unit built into the front of the restaurant, and subsequently a delicious smell that's not quite barbecue but not quite not barbecue. Or something. They serve a lot of things that, with my somewhat limited knowledge of Korean, I cannot pronounce or indeed understand, but several visits there have been winners every time, with some weird fusion on top, such as bulgogi tortillas, and my stepson's favorite, tuna-mayonnaise Korean fried rice. No, me neither. Their cold smoked pork belly, which features in many of the dishes, is freakin' delicious.

See also: At a "Stylish Korean Kitchen" in Carrollton, a Delicious Taco of Questionable Taconess

Just over the other side of many, many lanes of PGBT is Al-Markaz (1205 W Trinity Mills Rd, #112), an Indian/Pakistani grocery store with a little restaurant built into the back. You can order a curry and, while you're waiting, walk slowly through aisles piled high with whatever the hell these aisles are piled high with. My tip at Al-Markaz is the chicken tikka masala, which is just addictive, but for the more adventurous there's a brain masala too. You'll find yourself going back a lot, especially as a curry will only set you back about seven or eight bucks.

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22 comments
faerybryn
faerybryn

The Russian Banya is amazing! The Pirozhok with hamburger meat has some delicious spices, and is fried to a gorgeous crisp. The pierogies in butter broth are definitely hand-made and amazing. My daughter really liked their pork ribs, and it was way more than she could eat alone. They have a homemade compote drink that's pretty interesting, though I'm not sure I'd have it again. Unfortunately, I haven't had a dessert I've really liked yet. Baklava is my favorite, but theirs seemed a bit stale when I tried it. Same goes for some kind of cake I tried (though I don't remember the name). Overall, really awesome food! I find myself craving it. The server said that Saturdays get pretty packed, and they have a live band that plays music for families to dance. I'd love to go, one of these days. 

EdD.
EdD.

Here's hoping for a similar tour of Farmers Branch soon. Back when I worked in that fine suburb, lunchtime was always an adventure and I've lost touch with what's worth the time and money there these days. (For example, I loved Nuevo Leon when it first opened but then they got famous, expanded, over-reached, collapsed back to one store, and now the Yelp reviews are schizophrenic.It looks like the Observer hasn't stopped by in more than a dozen years.)

JaimesonPaul
JaimesonPaul

Earlier this week I received a message from Gavin that simply said "Come drink beer." I did, and then I went to Tto Tto Wa to fight off the impending hangover. 

sharibeary
sharibeary

the Shabu Shabu at OMI is great!!!

renelfloyd
renelfloyd

Don't sleep on Tokyo Teriyaki on the corner of Luna and Valwood. That is my go to lunch spot!

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

If Carrollton and Garland had a baby, would that baby be Hurst?  or Little Elm? 


ps-Why even get stuck in Carrollton? 

J_A_
J_A_

I love the new ktown

Adam
Adam

Mena's should be front and center on any list of Carrollton's best restaurants.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Who serves the Lo Bak.

Btw, long ago Scott at DallasFood used to do a series of reviews of local areas. My recollection is that he explored Jefferson in Oak Cliff and Maple Ave. This reminds me a lot of that, but much more compressed. I like the concept. Keep it up.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

So Amy drives all the way to Ft Worth to tell us about one cutsie ice cream parlor, but Gavin goes to Carrolton and brings back several recommendations. Well done, Gavin. Amy, next time bring back more than melted ice cream.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Eat It Suburbia Haters


Will be going to Super H Mart to pick-up bulgogi for dinner


Alphabetizing
Alphabetizing

No. I will never understand this. My mother loves it too but I have been multiple times now and it has not impressed me once. It is standard Tex Mex, not any hot deal as far as prices go, and take a look around--the majority of their clientele is middle aged white folk getting drunk with their friends, which says a lot to me. Agave Azul is far better if you want Tex Mex and many of the hole in the wall strip mall joints around the burbs have better more authentic Mexican. I will give you that mena's does have a better date atmosphere than the small places though.

gavin.cleaver
gavin.cleaver moderator

@primi_timpano Secret Recipe. I think they technically might be in Lewisville. It gets a bit hazy up there on the north border. Everything I've eaten there has been incredible, though, and it would take you years to get through their menu.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@gavin.cleaver @kergo1spaceship  Would be The Colony and Frisco; kids often go different directions

sharibeary
sharibeary

@gavin.cleaver @primi_timpano 

they are in carrollton......on Hebron just west of Old Denton. but it's not really close to

the Lewisville/carrollton border.

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