Omakase To Go

What separates us apart from other sushi restaurants? We’re omakase driven so we stick to getting the best fish for each season to provide the most quality sushi. With classic flavors of traditional Japanese, fine dining, to south East Asian street food style, creating the perfect harmony of umami in modern sushi!

Asia Times Square in Grand Prairie recently celebrated their 14th annual Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year is one of the most important and most celebrated holidays in some Asian cultures. Aside from it being a holiday to signify a new year on the lunar calendar, it also represents new beginnings, good fortune, and health. A typical Lunar New Year celebration is filled with traditions, not only with family but with businesses as well, that are meant to bring more prosperity and happiness all around.

Asia Times Square in Grand Prairie recently celebrated their 14th annual Lunar New Year and continued on with their tradition despite the weather and safety restrictions. They warmed up the festivities by making donations to the local community and awarding scholarships to well-deserving students. Asia Times Square also held movie screenings and fireworks– they even projected the Super Bowl on their big screen! Food vendors were also present, and it was nice seeing other local businesses present among what’s already at Asia Times Square. There was a great variety of cuisines like Cambodian, Lao, Japanese, Vietnamese, and many more. The smell of the grill coming from several vendors was absolutely hard to resist, and the selection inside Asia Times Square made for an unstoppable food journey.

 

The following week’s festivities were a lot more traditional. They started with a ritual for the lion dance inside Hong Kong Marketplace. Lion Dances are an iconic part of Lunar New Year celebrations as it symbolizes warding off any evil monsters, spirits, or negative energy. The lions are often fed offerings like round fruits, leafy greens, and red envelopes filled with money from the crowd for good luck. After a ceremony in the lobby, the lions moved inside Hong Kong Market, which would bring even more good fortune to the Grand Prairie establishment since any business visited by the lion dance performers is bound to have good luck for the rest of the year. Throughout the dance, they took the time to entertain the crowd and most especially the kids. The lion dancers would playfully take a “bite,” which is supposed to keep the kids strong, or would pass the offerings along to them. The festivities were then taken outside where the lions danced by the firecrackers to scare off any remaining evil spirits and to signify courage and strength for the rest of 2021. For safety reasons, the entire celebration was also broadcasted live on Facebook so people could enjoy the traditions safely and in the comfort of their own home.

While Lunar New Year festivities may be over, there’s always next year and we’re hoping that having continued the traditions despite the hurdles helped bring good health and prosperity for everyone this year. Asia Times Square also has a great variety of businesses and cuisines that you can visit year round, so make sure you come hungry in hopes that you get to try them all!

The Spread: Grand Prairie’s Asia Times Square Is Becoming A Legit Foodie Destination

Welcome to The Spread, our weekly feature that aims to share all the area restaurant,  food and beverage industry news that’s fit to print. Except, this is the Internet, so space isn’t a concern. Also: Good thing, because this is Dallas and this town always has breaking restaurant news going down like whoa.

What’s up, Dallas foodies?

The new year brings with it a fresh start — and hopefully some optimism for all, including everyone in the restaurant business.

To that end, there’s a lot of new stuff coming to town, including some rare gems. Take, for instance, the insanely diverse area Asian cuisine scene. Just this week out in Grand Prairie, restaurateur Joseph Be announced three concepts entering the fray at Asia Times Square — an Asian-American shopping and dining district that is quickly becoming a popular spot for foodies. So far this month, as the Dallas Morning News reports, he’s opened Apsara Thai & CambodianSakari Ramen and Meccha Matcha out that way. The first is aimed at fans of Cambodian comfort cuisine — and, trust us, there are many — whereas the latter two are aimed at Japanese ramen and dessert fiends.

If you happen to head out that way to try any of those new spots, be sure to also check out BBQ Chicken Arlington. This today through Friday, the established Korean fried chicken chain is offering a free half-and-half style chicken with each large order purchase.

If that’s still not enough Asian grub excitement for you, then how about this: Korean bakery chain Paris Baguette is opening a second location in Carrollton early 2021, per CultureMap. The international bakery and pastry company opened its first DFW location in Lewisville back in 2019.

Coffee is also all the rage these days, as CultureMap also notes how White Rino Coffee is expanding with a new location set to open in Fort Worth this Febuary. And, back in Dallas, the coffee shop also plans on opening an additional location this month in the historic State-Thomas District in Uptown, taking over the building that once housed Londoner Pub.

Unfortunately, for some, this year is off to a challenging start. Over the holidays, a structural fire caused the temporary closure of a landmark BBQ restaurant in McKinney. According to The Dallas Morning News, Hutchins BBQ is still investigating the cause of the fire that burnt a portion of its building down on New Year’s Day. But, while the McKinney location remains closed until further notice, the Frisco location is still up and running to satisfy your hearty cravings.

And, if you’re in Las Colinas or Fort Worth and craving mambo taxis, we regret to inform y’all that Taco Diner is closing its respective locations in both places. The popular Mexico City-style restaurant announced on their social media that they will not be renewing their leases at either location. Fortunately, the brand’s two other remaining spots in West Village and Lake Highlands will remain open.

It’s unclear whether these closures are related to COVID-19.

News Bites: Cambodian Cuisine inGrand Prairie and Cronutsin McKinney

Welcome back to SideDish’s weekly dispatch of need-to-know NewBites, from quiet closures to opening updates and everything in between, including coronavirus-related intel. Hello and Happy New Year.

In Case You Missed It

SideDish started off the year with a short recap of some bigger food news that flew under most radars during the holiday break. Read up on the dining news you might’ve slept on during your holiday hibernation (like the end of Macellaio, although Oak Cliff Bread is incorporating some of its salumi into its offering this weekend).

A Lot of Taco News to Kick Off the New Year

Before we get to 2021 news, here’s a quick look at the loss of Taco Stop in 2020, one of many closures last year. As pointed out by Texas Monthly taco editor José Ralat, the New York Times included the Dallas taco joint in a restaurant memoriam of sorts. Jumping forward to this year, Taco Diner closed two locations in Irving and another in Fort Worth, but its two Dallas spots remain open for now. While a reason wasn’t supplied to the Dallas Morning News, I don’t think we’re done seeing coronavirus-related restaurant closures just yet. The recent Deep Ellum arrival, Basic Taco, has temporarily closed due to COVID and some remodeling, per an Instagram post. (Its sister cocktail bar next door, Yellow Rosa, seems to be chugging along just fine.) Support your local taquerias!

Petra and the Beast Looks to Comforting Hungarian Fare

The Old East Dallas house of fine dining has a new curbside, family-style meal for Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, this time serving up winter-appropriate food from Hungary, from goulash made with A Bar N Ranch beef to rustic dumplings called nodekli to rigójancsi, a chocolate spongecake with a poppy seed crumb. Cold weather comfort food at its literal finest. Peep the menu and ordering process here.

Three New Restaurants Arrive in Grand Prairie

Grand Prairie’s Asia Times Square welcomes three new places to eat and drink: Apsara Thai and Cambodian, Sakari Ramen, and Meccha Matcha. While a plethora of Asian cuisines pepper much of North Texas, Cambodian food has yet to proliferate. The arrival of Aspara hopefully points to a promising uptick of South Asian flavors in the region. Joseph Be, the owner of all three, told the Dallas Morning News that he doesn’t know of any other Cambodian eateries in the area, save for a couple in Lewisville and Rockwall. On SideDish we’ve covered Kamp Fire, Kevin Top’s Cambodian street food pop-up. It has employed a wait-and-see approach when it comes to opening a proper brick and mortar. Who can blame him post-2020? Still, I’m excited about what may become more frequently seen in the Dallas area. Here’s to more lemongrass-suffused skewers and prahok khtiss (pork dip) in 2021!

Oh, May 2021 Bring Us All the Pastries We Need and Deserve

Starting with Cremcrittos Gelato & Pastry. I saw images of lush-looking laminated pastries on the Asian Grub Facebook group not mere days ago. Now food news sleuth Teresa Gubbins at CultureMap has the word on this McKinney patisserie. It’s opened by brothers Mike and Young Yim, the latter of whom studied at The French Pastry School in Chicago and most recently was the pastry chef at the Ritz-Carlton here in Dallas. The menu at Cremcrittos is promising pastry classics like the chocolate eclair and untraditional mashups such as the cronut.

The Saga of the Fletcher Corny Dog Name Is Over

A whole year ago, two Fletcher family members who splintered off to start their own corny dog business (CornDog With No Name) found themselves battling over the Fletcher name. Now, reports the Dallas Morning News, “they’re heading into the new year having called a truce” after having spent much of 2020 in legal dispute over trademarks. Despite the ongoing lawsuit, both Fletcher Corny Dog and CornDog With No Name doled out the favorite handheld snack in 2020 through roving pop-ups and getting the taste of the State Fair to the hungry masses.

Flying Saucer Said Goodbye at the End of 2020

The 25-year-old Addison beer haven closed on December 31. Owner Shannon Wynne told DMN that the lease was up and he wasn’t renewing.

Hard-to-find Cambodian food is now on the menu in Grand Prairie

Restaurant owner Joseph Be is a busy guy.

This month, he’s debuted three concepts at Asia Times Square, the revamped destination shopping center located at 2625 W. Pioneer Parkway in Grand Prairie: Apsara Thai and Cambodian, Sakari Ramen and Meccha Matcha.

And with Apsara, Be is aiming to bring an elusive cuisine to the forefront. He says his restaurant is the only one in Grand Prairie and Arlington to serve Cambodian food, and that the only other Cambodian restaurants he knows about in North Texas are in Lewisville and Rockwall.

“I’m aiming for Cambodian food to be just as popular as Thai,” Be said. “Cambodian just hasn’t gotten the traction” that other Asian cuisine has.

Be’s family is from Cambodia and grew up eating the food, and he says its specialties, including rice-pin noodles like lort cha, serve as a great introduction to the fare.

His restaurants are among several new additions at the shopping center, which is anchored by Hong Kong Market Place supermarket.

Japanese cream puff chain Beard Papa opened at the end of November at the center, while Omakase to Go gave the location a go earlier this month.

The new additions are part of a new strategy for the center, co-owner Matthew Loh told CultureMap.

“We wanted to bring something more modern with a new food court, and we like different flavors,” he said. “The goal was to have different regions for people to experience. We wanted it to represent Asia and be a destination where people can almost visit Asia without having to pay travel costs.”

Grand Prairie’s Asia Times Square debuts expansive slate of eateries

A destination Asian shopping center in Grand Prairie has unfurled a round of new restaurants, part of its mission to connect people with different cultures through something innately shareable like food.

The center is Asia Times Square, at 2625 W. Pioneer Pkwy., and the new restaurant concepts include sushi, ramen, matcha beverages, and ice cream. They join a community of businesses at Asia Times Square that help to bolster its niche as a major Asian market in Texas.

Anchored by Asian supermarket Hong Kong Market Place, Asia Times began as a market to serve the community, and is best known for its annual Lunar New Year celebration which is open and free to all. It has since blossomed into a multi-purpose village with offices, retailers, restaurants, health and beauty services, law offices, travel agency, and more.

Early restaurant tenants included The Pearl, an authentic Chinese restaurant that does dim sum seven days a week; Bistro B, a Vietnamese local favorite; pho restaurant Pho Hung; and Banh Mi No. 1, a sandwich shop.

The new crop of restaurants reflects a desire to broaden the variety, says co-owner Matthew Loh.

“We wanted to bring something more modern with a new food court, and we like different flavors,” he says.

“The goal was to have different regions for people to experience. We wanted it to represent Asia and be a destination where people can almost visit Asia without having to pay travel costs.”

“We have Vietnamese, Filipino, pho, Cajun, Thai, Cambodian, ramen, and sushi,” he says. “We have Beard Papa, the world’s best cream puff, and Meccha Matcha, who do green tea ice cream. These are all opening and we’re getting ready to add more.”

The newbies include:

Omakase To Go
Chef Thi Tran, former sushi chef at Uchi in Dallas, is doing vegan and seafood sushi featuring fish sourced from Tsukiji Market, the internationally known seafood market in Tokyo, with specials such as Otoro and Hokkaido Uni. Tran held a soft opening test run on December 18 and will reopen on January 1.

Meccha Matcha
This stand serves soft-serve and scooped ice cream in revelatory flavors including their signature green tea ice ceam, plus exotic flavors such as ube and black sesame. In addition to cones, they also serve unique ice cream floats such as Yuzu Matcha Float with ice cream combined with a refreshing sweet-tart yuzu drink. This is the second location, following the original that opened in Plano in 2018. “We are very passionate about matcha and only use the most premium, highly concentrated powder in our items,” they say.

Sakari Ramen
New ramen shop made its soft opening debut on December 20, in the stall next to Meccha Matcha, with Japanese and Asian dishes that include tonkotsu ramen, garlic dry noodle, katsu rice plate, and chicken karaage. They do a unique spin with dishes such as Lemon Ramen, with a flavorful shoyu broth and refreshing citrus zing.

Apsara Cambodian & Thai
Newly opened restaurant specializes in dishes such as lort cha, with “pin noodles,” found on almost every corner of Cambodia, making it one of the most recognized Cambodian dishes.

Beard Papa’s
Japanese chain with more than 500 locations around the world does cream puffs in flavors like matcha and honey butter. It has two DFW locations, in Plano and Frisco, plus two in the Houston area.

Loh and his family began with a shopping center in Arlington before investing in Grand Prairie. They launched Asia Times Square nearly a decade ago in a former Walmart then acquired a nearby Sam’s Club in 2013, where the new concepts have debuted.

“We’ve created an upscale food court with two floors,” he says. “The bottom floor has eight kitchens, six of which have already been leased out. Upstairs there’s a multi-purpose room for small parties and we’re adding a balcony that goes outside between two buildings, it’s cool the way they’re connected.”

They also spent $3 million to renovate the parking lot with an outdoor plaza and a clock showing the 12 zodiac times that Asians celebrate during the New Year. “If people don’t know what year this is, they can look and see that this will be, say, the year of the ox,” Loh says. “I
view it as an educational art piece.”

In recent years, a number of new Asian-centric centers have sprung up around North Texas, but mostly north of Dallas, including Carrollton Town Center and Frisco Ranch. Arlington meanwhile has numerous centers with independently owned places that have coalesced
organically.

For Loh and his family, this is a business, but also something more.

“We have a broader vision of preserving tradition and promoting culture,” he says. “That’s very important to me. I see it in my own children, my nieces and nephews, who lose a little of their roots. I think that by promoting culture, we can experience something unique and learn from each other, to better understand one another.”

Former Uchi chef’s eye-popping sushi is the star at a new Grand Prairie restaurant

Grand Prairie has got a new sushi star in town.

Thi Tran, former sushi chef at Uchi in Dallas, has opened Omakase To Go at Asia Times
Square, serving fish straight from Tokyo’s world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market.

Tran’s road to restaurant ownership happened during the pandemic, when he began making
elaborate omakase sushi platters from his Arlington home.

“I was making 70 platters a week by myself,” Tran, 28, said. “Three months later, I have
2,000 social media followers.”

With his early success “inspired by COVID,” he started looking at opening a storefront
despite the pandemic creating a surge in the price of fish.

“It used to be, you could order five pounds of bluefin tuna,” he said. “Sushi restaurants
started closing due to the price of fish going up.”

When Tran realized ordering such small a quantity would not be an option, he teamed up
with his friend, Steve Frechette, the owner of Chihiro Sushi & Bar in Euless, and the two
began combining their needs into larger orders.

Tran’s menu is unique and features unusual-for-this-area fish. This weekend’s menu has
Otoro (a type of fatty tuna) and Hokkaido Uni (sea urchin) as well as vegan and vegetarian
options. Tran explains his style as a fusion of raw fish and what he calls “junk-food,” fried
sushi.

“Most restaurants separate the two on their menus,” he said.

Here, you can find the Kyoto (tuna, yellow tail and crunchy potato strings) and the Striking
Cobra (shrimp tempura and spicy tuna) among other eye-catching, healthy (and maybe-notso-healthy) items.

And as for those Instagram-worthy omakase platters? Tran said he lost a little sleep
deciding whether to continue to offer them but ultimately kept them on his menu.