A Visit to Russian Banya

by Steven Doyle

Hidden in a small Carrollton shopping center on Rosemeade Parkway is a tiny oasis of Russia that is steeped up in time honored tradition of cooking and the only Banya in Texas.

Russian Banya, Spa and Cafe has Russian, Finnish and Turkish steam rooms. The Russian steam room holds a wood-burning masonry stove and is kept above 200 degrees with 40-65 percent humidity. The dry cedar-lined Finnish sauna stays between 180-210 degrees with 5 or 10 percent humidity. The Turkish sauna is a wet steam room kept at 90-110 degrees with 100 percent humidity.     

Cheburek, filled pastry with lamb and vegetables $3

As you approach the Banya you might spy older Russian gentlemen milling about in their robes, but do not let this deter you. Inside the café you will find an bounty of Eastern European food made fresh each day, servicing the community with their disparate dishes.

The family run operation is open daily from noon to 9pm, except on Saturdays when they close at 2am. It is then you will witness a slice of Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan with dishes ranging from $8 to $17.

We slipped in curious about some of the cuisine, and the owners are eager to explain each dish in great detail, often with a bit of history making the visit further enjoyable. The owner, who is known only as Tony G., explained that his son was pivotal in opening the restaurant when he won a nice paycheck from a reality show and used the winnings to invest in the family operation.

Tony enticed us with stories of spirited parties that sometimes last well into the next day. On some Russian holidays guests will come dressed in their traditional military uniforms, and as part of the entertainment will bring in an AK-47 to take apart and quickly reassemble.

Cold Eggplant Saute, $7.99

Golubtsi, Beef Stuffed Cabbage Rolls  $8.99

Pelmeni, beef stuff dumplings in a light butter sauce  $8.99

Vareniki, mashed potato pierogis  $6.99

Russian Banya prepares a large variety of pastries each day, most are offered for $3 each

The tradition speaks volumes in the dishes we sampled, each made fresh daily by members of the family. The day we stopped in we were looking to explore a bit, but will be back for more of the dishes including borscht, kebabs, several herring entrees and more.

The Russian Banya is BYOB with no corkage fee.

Russian Banya
2515 East Rosemeade parkway, carrollton
214.483.5050

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Filed under BYOB, Carrollton, Caviar, Crave, Dumplings, Steven Doyle

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