Trying to eat slightly healthier is not as easy as it sounds. Yah, yah, I know there is salad; but honestly... The chances of me eating a salad for lunch are as good as Lady Gaga trying to cover herself up. Although that meat dress did look appetizing in a beef carpaccio-kinda of way... So the usual choices other than salads, sandwiches and wraps are the less-bad-for-you sushi or soup noodles. However, there is another popular option that I will group into one - grilled-to-order food such as U-Grill, Kojo Japanese and many variations of Mongolian Grill. Now, I used to like U-Grill until I looked at what I got for the price. When merely placing veggies on my plate and then realizing that it will ultimately cost me $15.00, then it seems like a rip-off. I'd much rather take my chances at the predetermined ingredients at any of the Japanese fast food teppanyaki.
However, the best value lies in Mongolian-type grill joints. Forget the all-you-can-eat. Just take their regular deal and it is generally enough food for one person. And that's what I did at Mongo Bongo in New West. I grabbed a bowl and filled it as much food as I could for $8.00. The one thing I liked about this place was the frozen meat. It was flat, not curled up like some of the other Mongolian grills out there. This way, I could put more in the bowl with less wastage of space. In fact, I put so much, I really didn't feel the need to stuff it anymore. As I said, one bowl is more than enough food for one person, especially since rice and soup are included. I really didn't end up eating most of the rice since I got a bunch of noodles and it was carb on carb. Only get the rice if you had loaded up on meat.
So the deal here is to load up on meats (chicken, beef, pork), noodles and veggies. After that, there is an array of sauces and flavourings that you can add to your heart's content. Pass the bowl to the grill master, write down your name, table number and then wait. Once ready, the fresh-off-the-grill plate of food will be served to you. Compared to my last visit to a Mongolian grill (at King Mongolian Grill), Mongo Bongo is considerably cleaner and more modern. There is an ample amount of staff, who are both efficient and friendly. Much like Chinese hot pot, this type of food is not rocket science. It relies heavily on the freshness of the ingredients and the punch of the sauces. In both cases here, it was good. The one tip for those who like their food saltier, just make sure you're not shy with the sauces. Experiment a bit, mix them up and try new combinations each time and if you go for the AYCE option, you can do that in one visit. In addition to the freshness of the ingredients, the final variable is the grill master. To cook different items at the same time at high heat can be challenging; but it worked out pretty good where the veggies were still crisp while meats were cooked all the way through. No complaints.
- Ingredients are fresh and the display is well-maintained
- Clean and comfortable digs
- Food was cooked as good as it could be
- I know this is nit-picking, but the soup was far to salty