There’s a new sushi spot in East Dallas, and if you haven’t tried it yet, you should go — and go hungry.
Hungry Belly opened on Fitzhugh Avenue in the space previously occupied by short-lived Mama Poke. It’s in a former bank building that has sat empty for years until restaurants moved in.
We were a little skeptical of sushi and bento lasting long after the poke spot exited, but there doesn’t appear to be a curse on the place: Our first visit really hit the mark.
Hungry Belly is a great addition to the neighborhood with table service, to-go, delivery and a full bar including Japanese beer.
The menu is big: Six pages are packed with Korean, Japanese and Chinese dishes. There are bento boxes, noodle bowls, sushi and sashimi, as well as rotating specials.
Servers were happy to explain the specialty, “Amazing Korean” menu and point you in the right direction. The bento box was recommended by two of the servers during a slow lunch on our midweek visit.
There are traditional bentos such as sesame chicken, teriyakis and tempura, but there’s also bulgogi, pork katsu and Korean spicy chicken.
I started with the shrimp gyoza, which is made with ground shrimp and deep-fried ($5). There are no steamed options for the dumplings here.
The bulgogi bento box was delicious ($15). Thinly sliced beef is served on a bed of onions and bean sprouts with sticky rice, beef gyoza, a salad with housemade ginger dressing and half a California roll. As California rolls go, this one was great, packed with plump (real) crab.
The bulgogi is marinated for 36 hours with soy sauce, pears, apples, pineapples, onions, celery and garlic. It made for a tasty, tender beef with a hint of sweetness from the fruit. The soy marinade held through so it doesn’t douse your dish with sauce.
Nearby, two women were equally satisfied with their meals. One woman kept complimenting the tonkotsu ramen ($10), and the other was loving her pad thai ($10), which my server also recommended several times.
Standing out on the menu was the burgers and tacos section, with bulgogi and short ribs ($12) and spicy Korean chicken ($10), each in your choice of a burger or taco.
The patio is spacious and airy. Beneath the open-air canopy are many tables for solo and group dining and a firepit circled by Adirondack-style chairs.
Inside is a cozy dining room with dark finishes. A red booth along the wall provides a splash of color, and a few floor-to-ceiling windows open the space up.
Hungry Belly opened with little fanfare at the end of July. Owner Cherry Chang painted the logo on the outside of the building back in March but wouldn’t respond to local food writers, to the frustration of some.
The location is walkable for residents of Fitzhugh and Henderson avenues and situated just off the highway, making it convenient for a host of Dallas diners.
Hungry Belly delivers through all leading delivery platforms, with 10% off your first order.
We left the restaurant with full stomach and to-go boxes. As soon as we’re hungry again, we’ll be back.
Hungry Belly, 2818 Fitzhugh Ave. (Old East Dallas). Open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.-midnight Monday-Friday, noon-10:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.