Eat This

The Gangnam Style Roll Is Everything Its Name Implies at Carrollton's Swankiest Sushi House

Ah, “Gangnam Style,” the song that took the world by storm in 2012 and remains the most-watched video in YouTube history. Psy may have faded from the pop charts and your memory cells, but his spirit lives on in an over-the-top sushi roll at Carrollton’s most over-the-top restaurant.

GangNam Sushi House is, like the song, named after a super-trendy neighborhood in Seoul, South Korea. The original Gangnam is a mecca of super-charged new-money materialism, in case you couldn’t tell from the music video, and that spirit informs the Old Denton Road restaurant, too. Under the sushi bar, LED lights constantly shift colors. There’s a posh private dining room and a 6-foot-tall wine fridge to keep Yellow Tail cool. Specials are written in neon marker on a backlit board. Right now: “Live Octopus $32.99.”

And the sushi roll list is similarly luxurious, starting with the Coconut Gigolo roll, which is totally real and not something I’m making up. The Coconut Gigolo is shrimp tempura, crab meat, salmon, cream cheese, cilantro, peanut butter and coconut flake inside a sushi roll, topped with “potato crunch,” eel sauce and spicy mayo. Yes, salmon with peanut butter with cilantro. Again, this is real. And so is the Green Hulk Roll, topped with fried crawfish, wasabi mayo and more “potato crunch.” But the star of the menu, the one that makes the manager grin when you order it, is the $15.95 Gangnam Style roll. Its base sounds simple: a generously stuffed crabmeat roll with asparagus, avocado, cucumber and radish sprouts. But two of the eight slices are topped with big cuts of sashimi-grade tuna, two more slices with salmon, two more with whitefish and the final two with different kinds of fish roe.
Eating the sushi piece and fish slab in one chopstick-ful is pretty difficult, but taken separately, they’re both the products of expert craftsmanship. The sushi is well-made and smoothly flavorful, and the garnishes are terrific too. One scene-stealer is the salmon, pillow-soft and buttery with seams of fat. A solitary shrimp includes way more tail meat than I manage to get when my clumsy fingers peel shrimp.

Then there are the two kinds of fish roe, as glamorous-looking as caviar, but practically free in comparison. The bigger, fluorescent-orange variety is ikura, or, as the Internet helpfully says, “the fully-ripe ovaries of salmon.” That’s right: ovaries for lunch! And, to be honest, they’re deliciously salty-sweet little balls of concentrated salmon flavor. Save this piece of sushi for last, because with the ikura garnish, it forms the most satisfying whole.
A quick sample of the eel sushi reveals that the GangNam sushi chefs can do basics well, too, with stellar eel and warm rice in their proper ratio. Your check arrives with a little bowl of free ice cream. In other words, this is a darn good place, and the Gangnam Style roll is a horse-twerking subway-romance yellow-vinyl-suit dance-off gratuitous explosion of awesome flavor. But what about the Coconut Gigolo and its medley of salmon and peanut butter? Uh, how about you try it and let us know.

GangNam Sushi House, 2680 Old Denton Road., Carrollton. 972-466-0222.. Eel sushi (2 pieces) $6.50, Gangnam Style roll $15.95, Coconut Gigolo roll $15.95.
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Brian Reinhart has been the Dallas Observer's food critic since spring 2016. In addition, he writes baseball analysis for the Hardball Times and covers classical music for the Observer and MusicWeb International.
Contact: Brian Reinhart