Posted by: Sean Carter | July 5, 2013

#140: O Tasty Mongolian BBQ

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I’ve had Mongolian BBQ (MBBQ) on the brain for a couple days since I discovered that Mongolian Bliss is now gone, replaced by Asian Bliss (I suspect it’s the same people).  I’ve been unintentionally avoiding the Galleria for the blog because most of the time I would go it would be insanely busy.  I thought I might get lucky today if people were either working or out of town for the weekend of the 4th.  Turns out it was still pretty busy, oh well.

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O Tasty Mongolian BBQ is located in the back corner of the Galleria’s food court.  I expected some sort of a mini version of the typical MBBQ restaurant, and wasn’t sure how it would look in a food court setting.  In fact, it’s a pretty full sized counter of ingredients.  Everything I expected to be there was.  Here, you start by paying at the register on the left, get your bowl and drink, then head down to the right and assemble your bowl.  I got a large Dr Pepper with mine and the total worked out to just over $10.  The bowls here are $7.65 for one serving (one serving is typical for lunch at other Mongolian places, but the price here was a little higher than normal, although not surprising for a food court).  Another difference between this food court MBBQ and the full sized ones is that you don’t get appetizers or a side of rice/soup with your bowl.  You can order a combo for $1.25 more that gives you a choice of white rice, fried rice, egg roll or pork dumpling.  The bowls are definitely on the smaller side, though there is a reason (and they have more than one sign explaining this).  The noodles are added, after they take your bowl, by the cook (or the cooks assistant, as was the case with mine).

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They have pork, beef and chicken to choose from.  All the veggies looked pretty fresh and everything was well stocked.  The line itself was quite clean considering they pretty much had a non-stop flow of customers the entire time I was in the food court.  The line moved about as fast as they could cook each bowl.  I think from start to finish the whole process took about 10 minutes.  As I moved down the line I added: pork, onions, spinach, bean sprouts, zucchini and mushrooms.  After that everything was handled by the staff.  The woman that rung me up had jumped up the line to help out and took my bowl.  Here she went over all the sauces and asked what I wanted by asking “spicy/no spicy?”, “Sweet/not sweet?”, “garlic?” etc.  From my answers she ladled certain sauces and a bit of garlic (I asked for extra which she added).  After that she added a bigger scoop of a dark sauce from a larger container behind the counter and took my bowl to the grill to be cooked next.  I suspect the last sauce is a base flavor and the individual ones she asked me about are to tailor that base to the customer’s tastes.  I noticed that a lot of the sauces she added seemed a little lighter in color than at other MBBQ places.  I wondered if the flavor would be as strong.

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The cook poured my bowl onto the donut-shaped grill and then came up to get my noodles.  They have skinny and fat noodles and he asked which kind I wanted.  I went with the fat ones and he scooped up a pretty good amount of them, more than I would normally take myself.  I grabbed a plastic fork and some chopsticks while he cooked.  Once finished, he transferred my food into a styrofoam takeout container and put it on my tray.  I added some crispy mini fried-wanton looking things to it and headed off to find a table in the crowded food court.

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The end result was a lot of food.  At least half of it was noodles.  I almost immediately put the forks aside because it was just too thin and flimsy to be of any use.  The chopsticks  were cheap and boxy but did much better work than the fork.  Everything was cooked well and the sauce had equally coated it all.  As I suspected, the sauce flavor was much less intense than how I typically would prepare my own bowl somewhere else.  At first I thought this was a bad thing, but as I ate I realized that I was able to pick up subtle flavors from everything here and there that might otherwise be overpowered.  It actually made for a pretty interesting meal.  The little fried wantons  were great and stayed crunchy to the last one.

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I left with a full belly and a much better impression of this MBBQ than I had expected.  It would be nice it their price was more in line with others, but I’m sure it’s not cheap to be located in the Galleria.  I don’t often come to the mall but I think there’s a good chance I would eat here again when I do.

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