Sammantha Kang adjusts beef short ribs at K's House, a Korean restaurant in Trinity Groves, in Dallas.

Sammantha Kang adjusts beef short ribs at K's House, a Korean restaurant in Trinity Groves, in Dallas.

Shaban Athuman/Staff Photographer

Visit Carrollton's bustling Koreatown hub at George Bush and Old Denton Road on a weekend, and you'll find thousands of people inside the many restaurants, bakeries and dessert shops, and buying groceries at H Mart, a popular Asian supermarket.

Swing by the original Korean district at Harry Hines and Royal Lane, and it's a similar experience, with a concentration of restaurants, a grocery store and other Korean businesses.

Sammantha Kang is the owner of K's House in West Dallas.

Sammantha Kang is the owner of K's House in West Dallas.

Shaban Athuman/Staff Photographer

When Sammantha Kang opens K's House at Trinity Groves in West Dallas on May 30, it won't be the only game in town. But, it will be a new Korean restaurant in a neighborhood that's lacking menus serving authentic Korean barbecue and more elaborate dishes such as samgyetang, a chicken soup featuring a whole baby chicken stuffed with rice, ginseng and garlic.

Kang has a history with Korean restaurants in North Texas. The Korean-born restaurateur moved to the United States when she was 9. Kang, now 46, got her start at D-FW restaurants with Ssam Korean Grill and Musiro, two restaurants in Carrollton's popular Korean district. She's since sold those restaurants to make the leap to K's House, located at Cypress at Trinity Groves, the mixed-use development on the south side of Singleton Boulevard where diners can also find Dulcet Cafe, Kang's coffee shop and bakery, as well as unaffiliated spots like BingBox dessert shop and Steam Theory Brewing Company

"When I was younger, I was reading about Korean food and was shocked at how much history was behind our food," Kang says. "It made me proud. I got excited and wanted to share that with people. I knew everyone would love Korean barbecue, because it's meat. But my goal is for people to enjoy more than just meat."

Korean noodles at K's House in Dallas

Korean noodles at K's House in Dallas

Shaban Athuman/Staff Photographer

Kang's menu will include banchan, the array of side dishes that accompany most Korean meals, as well as dishes such as ojingeo bokkeum, spicy stir-fried squid, and soondubu, a spicy tofu soup. Her soondubu sauce takes three days to make and includes 17 ingredients. She speaks of it fondly, like a mother describing her child.

Kang knows she's taking a risk by opening a Korean restaurant outside of D-FW's Korean strongholds. But when she moved here from Seattle five years ago, she was impressed with Texans' diverse appetites and excited at the prospect of a bigger project that would introduce Korean food to an entirely new part of town.

Radish and beet juice at K's House in Dallas

Radish and beet juice at K's House in Dallas

Shaban Athuman/Staff Photographer

Kang was also encouraged by second-generation Korean restaurant owners, including influential chefs such as David Chang and Roy Choi, who are bringing the preparations and flavors to an appreciative audience across the country.

While neither Chang nor Choi own restaurants in Texas, their influence is present through their popular cookbooks, including Chang's Momofuku and Choi's L.A. Son. Both are also a regular presence in the media and on television, including Chang's Netflix series, Ugly Delicious. And of course, they also brought Korean ingredients such as gochujang, the fermented chili paste, to the attention of chefs cooking every sort of cuisine. 

All of this is helping restaurateurs such as Kang break free of what she calls their "comfort level" and open outside of Korean neighborhoods.

"David Chang did a great job of introducing the world to an approachable version of Korean food," says Angela Hernandez, the Korean-Mexican chef who formerly worked at Chinese restaurant Fine China in downtown Dallas. Hernandez, who grew up eating her mother's Korean cooking at home, keeps a steady supply of kimchi in her fridge and develops serious cravings if she's gone a couple weeks without a trip to Carrollton. When K's House opens, anyone craving labor-intensive homemade kimchi and other tastes of Korea will find it in West Dallas.

The restaurant opens May 30 for dinner only. Lunchtime hours come in June, owner Sammantha Kang says.

The restaurant opens May 30 for dinner only. Lunchtime hours come in June, owner Sammantha Kang says.

Shaban Athuman/Staff Photographer

Kang plans to make a couple of familiar dishes such as chicken teriyaki as well as some modern items, like Korean-style tacos. The majority of the menu, however, will center on Korean barbecue. Diners will choose from a variety of meats, including several cuts of beef and pork, brought to the table thinly sliced and raw and quickly cooked over gas tabletop grills. K's House staff can work the grill, but adventurous types are welcome to grill their own. A variety of dipping sauces, pastes and salts dial up the flavor.

Kang is especially excited about introducing diners to Korean classics such as soondubu, a spicy tofu soup; naengmyeon, a cold noodle dish; and the many variations of kimchi, pickles and other dishes that comprise the banchan side dishes. This is food meant for family-style dining: ordering communal meats and vegetables for the grill, and sharing soups, noodles and other dishes.

In July, K's House will begin offering a delivery-only "night owl menu" from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. to cater to late-night cravings. The menu isn't set yet.

Spicy octopus carpaccio at K's House in Dallas

Spicy octopus carpaccio at K's House in Dallas

Shaban Athuman/Staff Photographer

The 5,800-square-foot restaurant has a small bar in front serving beer, wine and spirits, plus 11 flavored sojus, a low-proof Korean liquor. Dark tables and gray walls get plenty of natural light streaming through the windows that face the original Trinity Groves development across the street. Nearly 200 seats fill the interior, and tables are equipped with grills and down-draft ventilation systems to keep the dining room smoke-free. More seating is available on the front patio.

Kang hopes that K's House is the start of a Korean food wave. "I'd love to see seven or eight Korean restaurants in this area," Kang says, "but if I'm the one who has to open them all, that's OK."

K's House opens May 30 for dinner only. Regular hours begin in June. K's House is located at 320 Singleton Blvd., Dallas.

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