Goin’ down to Chinatown

Dallas has noSapporo Ramen & Sushi shortage of fabulous restaurants, especially in East Dallas where we live. But when our friends from Austin came in town for the holiday, we promptly drove north to Chinatown.

Dallas’ Chinatown is not a huge community like those found in other major cities. This small retail area is located at 400 North Greenville Ave. where Dallas meets Richardson. It has a spectacular variety of Asian restaurants, including Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Cantonese and Korean, in addition to salons, a bookstore, a gift shop and an Asian grocery store.

Chinatown is home to my very favorite restaurant, Sapporo Ramen & Sushi. I always intend to order something new when we come here, but the ramen is just too delicious for deviation. I highly recommend the Chicken Katsu, Chung Hua and Chiang Pon. No matter which flavor I get, I always order the udon noodles; I just love the texture. And the owner/manager/sushi expert, Sean, is one of the coolest guys you will ever meet.Once, a group walked into the restaurant with a whole fresh fish, handed it off to the staff and waited patiently as Sean worked his magic. He later delivered the artfully carved fish along with an elaborate seafood display complete with sushi, caviar, ground ginger and all sorts of other goodies. Apparently Sean has quite a following among foodies, and other people who really know their stuff about Asian food consistently praise Sean for his knowledge and skill. Tonight I watched him work over a fish with a blow torch. It was mesmerizing. You gotta respect a man who has mad food skills, runs a top-notch restaurant and wears T-shirts from some of the best rock bands in history. Also, he gave us the most delicious melon-flavored ice cream bars the last time we had dinner there. Two other big pluses: Sapporo is BYOB, and the prices are insanely reasonable. The total bill for our party of four was $31. Yeah.

Another notable restaurant in this area is Jeng Chi, which serves traditional, authentic Chinese fare. Their dumplings are wonderful! They also have a display case near the entrance with tons of tempting pastries. Tonight we stopped in before dinner just to get one of their rolled cakes that looks like a ginormous Swiss cake roll. The cake is so light and fluffy; it’s almost like eating a sweet, creamy memory foam mattress. They come in vanilla, chocolate and coffee. The boys wanted chocolate. I did not protest.

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