Review: Mongo’s Grill – Meridian, Idaho
Finally! I’ve been waiting for a decent Mongolian BBQ place to open up in the Boise area since I moved here 6 years ago. Everything offered in town has always been so lame, dirty, and not very good. It’s been very frustrating. But that all changed this week when I pulled into the new Mongo’s Grill next to Famous Dave’s on Eagle Rd in Meridian. Halle-freakin-lujah!
Mongo’s Grill is worlds apart from the other Mongolian barbecue joints in the Boise area. The decor is upbeat and professional, with a bit of a P.F. Chang’s feel to it. The staff are professional and attentive. And the actual grill is larger than any I’ve seen before and is a beautiful stainless steel, looking much like a small UFO. Even the traditional wooden rods used to cook with are updated and replaced with a really cool looking stainless steel version. I was sold before I even got to the food. But the food is what really brings Mongo’s to the 10th level.
Mongo’s Grill Has an Incredible Selection of Vegetables, Meats, Seafood and Noodles
Being my first time at Mongo’s Grill, my server offered to give a tour and tell me how things were done. I was blown away with the selection of things to choose from. There were two full tables of vegetables to choose from: snow peas, snap peas, green beans, red peppers, yellow peppers, cabbages, peas, edamame, bamboo, water chestnuts, black beans, garbanzo beans, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, bean sprouts, cilantro, bok choy, asparagus, onions, green onions, broccoli, cauliflower, and more. It was amazing! I’m a veggie guy anyway, so this was really exciting.
But the options didn’t end there. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I got to the protein table. There were the standard frozen and shaved beef, chicken, and pork, as well as cubed tofu; with the unexpected additions of turkey, ham, and even pepperoni. But the real surprise came from all the seafood. During lunch, there was salmon, tilapia, and calamari. During dinner, there were the additions of mahi mahi, scallops, and shrimp. Tell me, where else can you get a selection like that? Happy happy joy joy!
And if that wasn’t enough, Mongo’s also offers up 5 different noodles to choose from. They offer the standard yakisoba type noodles, but also have wide rice noodles (think pad thai), delicious thick Shanghai noodles, and then penne pasta and rigatoni pasta. I thought the two Italian pastas were a little odd until I got to the sauce counter.
Mongo’s Grill Sauces are Diverse and Tasty
With my heaping bowl of veggies, chicken, fish, and Shanghai noodles, I was ready to sauce. The secret to any good Mongolian barbeque is the sauce, but Mongo’s takes things further than the rest. They have the standard ginger, garlic, Mongolian, hot oil, sesame oil, sweet and sour, and curry sauces. But they also introduce the following: stir fry sauce; Khan’s favorite sauce; kung pao; BBQ; black bean; honey mustard; orange pineapple; lemon; red wine; spicy szechuan; sweet chili garlic; teriyaki; soy sauce; Thai peanut; and tomato basil. What the heck? It was a cook’s dream to sauce the hell out of things with a perfect blend of whatever I felt like. The sauces also tasted great. My favorites were the orange pineapple, Mongolian, stir fry, and Khan’s favorite.
But what was up with that tomato basil and the Italian pastas? It turns out that Mongo’s Grill also offers a hot cheese sauce (not very good and very bland) and hot Alfredo sauce. For those of you that don’t want Asian deliciousness, you can still enjoy an outing with friends and have some chicken alfredo over penne, or maybe some pepperoni and olives with tomato basil marinara over rigatoni. Sky’s the limit. Enjoy.
Mongo’s Grill Spice Counter
After the sauce orgy, you take your bowl over to the grill to get it cooked. But before you hand it over to the cooks, there is a spice counter to add even more flavor to your meal. With 13 different spices and seasoning salts to choose from, you’re sure to find a flavor you’ll love to add to your sauce bowl of deliciousness. Personally, I loved the Thai Seasoning, but maybe you’re more of a curry person, or maybe you want some fajita seasoning to go with your chicken and beef. Whatever you’re out to accomplish, you’re sure to have a good experience at Mongo’s Grill.
Would you Like an Egg with That?
When you hand the cooks your bowl, they ask if you would like an egg with it, if you would like it all put into a wrap, or if you would like some tortillas. Cool. I accepted the egg, which went perfect with my Southwest Asian flavors. I guess the tortillas would be great if you decided to make chicken and beef fajitas with onions, peppers, cilantro, and black beans, all sprinkled with a little fajita seasoning at the spice counter. Choices galore at Mongo’s.
Mongo’s Grill Boise has a Soup and Salad Bar
Included with your meal is Mongo’s soup and salad bar. How nice to offer this. The salad options were extensive, and all very fresh. The soup options consisted of two soups, rotating daily between lunch and dinner. I had the Wicken Chicken Thai Soup, which was a red curry coconut lime chicken soup with rice. Damn that was some good soup. Wicked and delightfully evil.
All You Can Eat at Mongo’s Grill
Mongo’s is $9 for lunch, putting it about $2 more than other Mongolian options, but everything is included, and they encourage you to go through more than once. The secret to success at Mongo’s is to make your bowls small, and have more than one. By keeping the bowls small, you get a better ratio of sauce to food, which provides a better tasting more flavorful bowl. It also leaves room to have a cup of their delicious soup, and maybe even some peaches and cottage cheese from the salad bar. This place rocks, and is hands down the best Mongolian Barbeque joint in all of Boise. It is a small chain restaurant, with franchises in Minnesota and Canada. I’m very grateful someone brought it here, and I’ll be eating here for lunch regularly.
The Bald Gourmet finds the best Mongolian Barbeque in Boise and eats himself silly.