Back in 2012 Food Republic published an article about Brian Chong, in which he was dubbed the unofficial mayor of Koreatown in Los Angeles. We hope someone alerted Carrollton, because he's brought his K-Pop flare for dinner and a show to town.
Chong moved to Los Angeles from rural Korea in 1982. He got into the restaurant and entertainment business, and in 2008 opened his first Moodaepo Korean barbecue in California. When the pandemic struck and all restaurants took a big hit, Chong, now 60, saw it as a good time to relocate to Texas for the same reason so many Californians do: money. Doing business and living here is simply more affordable. Moodaepo Texas opened in Carrolton in 2022.
In the evenings, things can get busy with a line of folks waiting for a table. We arrived a little before the big dinner rush on a Saturday evening and waited only a few minutes.
There are 39 protein options here, from brisket to head-on shrimp, marinated or just plain. The meat is thinly sliced — a butcher counter lines one side of the restaurant, where the meat is cut and plated before being sent to tables on robot servers. Or a human server brings it out. You want the 'bots, though.
In addition to the meats, there are 10 sides on the menu, including a fresh green mix (good with steak). Be sure to order the steamed egg, which is like a personal souffle topped with a little corn and cheese. It's magically fluffy and cooked absolutely perfectly all the way to the bottom. Kimchi soup, corn cheese and kimchi fried rice are some of the other sides.
Premium cuts of meat like black angus, wagyu and Kobe A5 are on offer as well, for an upcharge; the most expensive item on the menu is 8 ounces of Kobe A5 for $168.
Then there's the two-page cocktail and beer menu to take care of everything else. We missed the Watermelon Soju ($40), half of a watermelon filled with slushie booze. Most tables had a pitcher ($25) or tower ($40) of beer.
K-Pop plays over everything at night; TVs are everywhere as well, so lots of distractions. Families pack tables with kids of all ages, although in the evening the clientele skews toward adults. If you need something, don't be shy. Service was fast and attentive during our visit, but you may have to wave someone down. There are waiters and servers (and robots) everywhere. Make reservations to avoid a wait on the weekends.
Chong has two other concepts in Carrollton; Chicken Warriors is a lively K-pop-inspired Korean-fried chicken spot. His third restaurant, which will open later this year with brunch early in the day and sushi in the evening, is one we'll follow up on.
Moodaepo, 3044 Old Denton Road, Carrollton. 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Monday – Saturday; 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday.