Sherman's Food Adventures: Great Han Mongolian BBQ

Great Han Mongolian BBQ

I often wonder how places like U-Grill can get away with the prices they charge. Every visit results in excess of $10.00. And most of the time, it creeps up to $15.00! I guess the fact you do not know how much you are paying until they weigh it, makes it extremely dangerous if one was very hungry. It's sneaky. It almost looks like a buffet, but not. And if you are too aggressive with the meats, watch out! Therefore, it suddenly makes the Mongolian grill-type restaurants look like a fantastic value. For under $7.00, one could load their bowl with as much of anything they want, including meats. Same customization and practically the same cooking technique. Generally, an all-u-can-eat option runs around $11.00 or so. However, you gotta be crazy hungry to take advantage of that.

The notion of value brought us to Great Han Mongolian BBQ. Their lunch special for one bowl runs for $6.59 and the AYCE option goes for $11.95. Both include soup, salad and a bowl of rice. The deal here is to take a large bowl and cram as much as you can manage. The best strategy is to actually put the veggies and noodles on the bottom. That way, the meat can weigh down the lighter items and they in turn won't fall out of the bowl. However, it is easier said than done because they put the meats first (in this case, there was Pork, Lamb, Beef and Chicken) and when there is a line, it is not possible. Well, it is possible, but that would involve being pretty rude (and I'm not even going into detail where they could possibly happen...). Just think of a place where lineups are are ignored as well as any other orderly conduct...

So if one was to do the lineup in the proper order, we would find various noodles and veggies next. I was a little disappointed that mushrooms weren't part of the selection. However, the veggies did seem fresh despite the mess caused by previous customers. After the veggies, the sauce bar was next consisting of many familiar Asian flavours such as black bean, teriyaki and peanut sauce. Around the corner, 3 more flavour shots welcomed us in the form of sesame oil, curry and hot chili oil. I would advise people to be quite liberal with the sauces because a lot of it is lost in the cooking process. And yes, the next step was cooking. The round grill was pretty hot and only after a few swipes, the food was ready to go. Despite this, when the place gets busy, you'll have to be patient. Since I was last in line, by the time I got my food, the first few people were completely finished eating.

Once I got my bowl, the food was more than enough for lunch. Some of the others thought about the AYCE option but gave up when they finished their first bowl. I found that they add too much moisture when they are cooking the food here. Hence, my food was too wet. Furthermore, the meats, particularly the beef, was tough and chewy. I guess for $6.59, there shouldn't be too much complaining going on especially if the food is several notches above edible. However, in comparison to several other places I've had Mongolian-type grilled food, the execution and meat quality is a step below. With that being said, if one was in the area and merely wanted to fill their tummies for the same amount of money as a fast food joint, yet eating infinitely healthier stuff, then Great Han would be an option.

The Good:
- Inexpensive
- Relatively healthier than equivalent priced fast food

The Bad:
- Meat quality is average, particularly the beef
- Cooking method here uses a bit too much water

Great Han Mongolian BBQ 大漢蒙古烤肉 on Urbanspoon


KimHo said...

I have been to similar Mongolian BBQ places and my strategy is somewhat different from yours: I don't tend to put vegetables at the bottom but the meat goes at the bottom - and cram as much as possible! What I try to avoid is putting much (if any) noodles. That's because, depending on the restaurant, they might offer rice on the side (which could partially help "soak" the sauces). As for sauces, be liberal also with garlic! And, similar to you, I have been tempted to go for the AYCE but, after the first bowl, I reconsider those thoughts.

Sherman Chan said...

@KimHo Yah, AYCE is not really needed when you can strategically load up your bowl!

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