Sunday, May 26, 2024 May 26, 2024
87° F Dallas, TX
Restaurants & Bars

These Are the Most Interesting New Chinese Restaurants in North Texas

From lavish Peking duck to Dallas’ first-ever taste of Uyghur cuisine, you'll find it here.
| |Photography by Kathy Tran
peking duck maison chinoise
Maison Chinoise's Imperial Peking Duck ($108), comes with mandarin crepes and tableside caviar service, Kathy Tran

This was a strong year for new Chinese food in North Texas. While many eyes were turned to the attention-getting openings of Fortune House on Greenville Avenue and Miami-based chain Komodo in Deep Ellum, a variety of smaller Chinese spots quietly opened in Irving, Carrollton, and Plano. They offer everything from dim sum baskets to hand-pulled noodles, representing culinary traditions from Shanghai in the east to the Uyghur region in China’s northwest. We begin our roundup of the most interesting new Chinese food in Dallas and its suburbs with the flashiest restaurant on the list.

Maison Chinoise

At sundown, light perfectly leaks into the front dining room, setting the scene for a dining experience that stuns with splendor and extravagance. The walls are covered in ornate wallpaper, and a massive, twinkling chandelier dangles above the dining room. If you manage to sit in a booth, prepare to launch yourself into more throw pillows than you can count.

In true Lombardi Family Concepts (Bistro 31, Taverna, Toulouse) fashion, the main dishes at this Uptown newcomer are equally dazzling. Chef Ivan Yuen’s favorite dish features a whole white fish that’s been stripped of most of its meat and deep-fried. The crispy bones are topped with bite-size fish nuggets that have been battered and fried separately before being tossed with five-spice salt, garlic, cilantro, ginger, scallions, and sliced jalapeños. At the table, the waiter activates a cup of dry ice on the platter, causing clouds to bubble over and create the illusion of a fish swimming through roiling water. On our visit, an alarming number of heads turned to catch a glimpse.

Lamb isn’t typically associated with Chinese cuisine, but it can be found where there are large pastures, such as in Mongolia and the Xinjiang region. For the wok-fried lamb shoulder, the meat is sliced and stir-fried with plenty of cumin and a spicy tobanjiang paste that has just enough sweetness to balance out its noticeable heat. Green beans and bell peppers add a pleasant crunch.

Where Maison Chinoise falls short is in its lack of value for more standard offerings. An order of xiao long bao is $16 for three small dumplings that are simply decent. The MC Imperial Peking Duck, which costs $108, includes an option to add a side of Peking duck-fried rice for $18; it arrived all fried rice and hardly any duck. For these types of dishes, you’ll get more bang for your buck in Richardson. But if you’re in the market for a side of glitz, there’s no place that does it better. 4152 Cole Ave., Ste. 106. 469-851-2222. —N.K.

Xiao Ling’s Kitchen

Pick up the soup dumplings here, tip them with your chopsticks, and you can see the broth inside slosh around. That’s how thin the dumpling wrappers are at Xiao Ling’s, where you can watch dumpling makers at work in a glass-walled kitchen. Thin dough isn’t everything, so these soup dumplings could be a gimmick. But their broth, thick with flavor, is divine, making these soup dumplings some of the best in Texas. Combination baskets are available if you want to try multiple kinds. Scallion pancakes are ultra-thin whispers compared to the big, fluffy, attention-getting bao filled with juicy pork. At first, we thought that a few Japanese and Korean appetizers were distractions from the mainly Chinese menu, but the kimchi is pretty good, too. 5910 N. MacArthur Blvd., Ste. 151., Irving. 469-567-3038. —B.R.

Turan Uyghur Kitchen

The food of China’s persecuted Uyghur Muslim minority has little in common with the rest of Chinese cooking. Instead, it looks west and south to the cuisines of other Muslim cultures. At Turan Uyghur Kitchen—to our knowledge the first-ever Uyghur restaurant in the Dallas area—shish kebabs and lamb shanks are on the menu. Samsas are, in both name and form, very similar to samosas. The ideal one-plate introduction to Uyghur cooking might be the korma chop, a cultural blend of chewy hand-pulled noodles, sliced beef, bell peppers, dried chile peppers, and long green onion tops. The whole bowl is dusted with sesame seeds. It’s the rustic texture of the curly noodles that will keep your fork sneaking back for another bite. 2001 Coit Rd., Ste. 163, Plano. 469-910-8028. —B.R.

Bamboo House

The restaurant chain from Humble, Texas, claims it has the best Peking duck in town. Which isn’t very humble, but one order could convince you their version might be—or should be—the blueprint. Caramelized roasted duck is sliced and layered on a white ceramic plate with julienned scallions and cucumbers. It’s presented ceremoniously on a bamboo tray with punchy hoisin sauce, sticky-sweet plum sauce, and a bowl of delicate brown sugar crystals. Wrapping it all in a thin pancake feels like a sacred ritual. The duck meat is strong and gamey, and it hides between layers of crispy, melt-in-your-mouth skin. If Peking duck isn’t what you’re into, that’s OK. You’ll find mouth-numbing Szechuan dishes, Taiwanese-style stinky tofu, and salt-and-pepper seafood all on the menu. 2301 N. Central Expwy., Ste. 195, Plano. 214-501-3958. —N.K.

One order of Bamboo House’s Peking duck could convince you their version should be the blueprint.

Steam Dumpling

When there are whispers among East Asian communities of an authentic dumpling house in Plano, you must listen. Dumplings of all kinds—chicken and corn, beef and onion, pork and cabbage, shrimp and leek, lamb—can come steamed, pan-fried, or coated in chile oil. But don’t overlook the house specials. The scallion pancake layered with thinly sliced beef, hoisin sauce, and a wild amount of chopped cilantro and green onions might be the best thing they serve. 3131 Custer Rd., Ste. 182, Plano. 806-608-8899. —N.K. 

This story originally appeared in the December issue of D Magazine with the headline “Texas-Born Chinese. Write to [email protected].


Brian Reinhart

Brian Reinhart

View Profile
Brian Reinhart became D Magazine's dining critic in 2022 after six years of writing about restaurants for the Dallas Observer and the Dallas Morning News.
Nataly Keomoungkhoun

Nataly Keomoungkhoun

View Profile
Nataly Keomoungkhoun joined D Magazine as the online dining editor in 2022. She previously worked at the Dallas Morning News,…