Moodaepo Korean Barbecue Brings Big K-Pop Energy | Dallas Observer

First Look

Moodaepo Korean Barbecue Has Big K-Pop Energy

Each table is fitted with its own grill.
Each table is fitted with its own grill. Lauren Drewes Daniels
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.
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Brian Chong moved to Texas for the same reason many other Californians have: doing business here is more affordable.
Lauren Drewes Daniels
If K-pop power-anthem energy could get a verified checkmark, Moodaepo would. Walking in, especially for the first time, there's a lot to take in. Robots stacked with meats whir past. Big silver contraptions hover over rows and rows of tables. These vent hoods, it turns out, are for grills embedded in each table.

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.
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Moodaepo is part low-key club, part dinner on the weekends.
Lauren Drewes Daniels
During dinner, the full all-you-can-eat experience is $39 (lunch is $25, and kids eat for less). Order whatever meats you want to start with, but be mindful of grill space; you can always order more, so instead of having a plate of raw meat sitting on the table, wait until you're ready to cook it before ordering. That's what the robots are for.

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.
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Steamed egg topped with corn and cheese.
Lauren Drewes Daniels

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.
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Lauren Drewes Daniels
A quick-serve ramen station is a fun amenity and kind of like a salad bar at a steakhouse; doesn't cost extra and with all the food you're about to get you certainly don't need it, but it's fun. There's a salad bar next to the line of ramen cookers with egg, cheese and green onion if you want to zhuzh up your soup.

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.
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.

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