Mongolian barbecue isn’t new to Central Florida, many others have offered it, but with little success. I remember one place that had diners go through a buffet line of raw ingredients, including beef and chicken, and fill up plastic bowls to hand to a cook who manned a large, round cooking grill hanging over a fire source. The cook would dump all the ingredients onto the grill and stir fry them in front of the guest, then hand them back in a bowl (different one from the raw-ingredient bowl).
It’s a bit different at the Mongolorian BBQ, a long-anticipated restaurant from the owners of Chi-Kin and Poke Hana that finally opened on Colonial Drive’s Mills 50 District. You can still pick your own ingredients, if you want, and watch them being cooked, though now they’re stir fried in on of several specialized vessels behind the counter.
Ingredient selection is now high tech, effectuated via ordering kiosks at the quick-serve restaurant. So in that sense, the Mongolorian is an assemblage concept – choose your starch, choose your protein, your vegetables and sauces and anything else you can think of that might make your dish ultimately inedible.
I instead went with some of the preordained selections and ultimately chose wisely.
One was the Nomads Land, which had both chicken and pork grilled and stir fried with cabbage, carrots, fetal corn, broccoli and flat rice noodles. It was blended with a delicious and well balanced basil curry sauce. The ingredients were plentiful and it was all delicious.
But the Mongol Empire was even better. There were two meats here, too, with chicken and beef mixed with baby bok chow, white onions and mushrooms in a spicy hot Mongolian sauce served over white rice. I liked that the heat of the sauce was as forceful as it should have been.
The beef skewers that I ordered for my takeout order were disappointing. They were served, oddly, in a slender paper bag. It was a messy affair as it was, but the tough meat didn’t make it any better.
It was refreshing to be so warmly greeted at the restaurant, even with the impersonal nature of kiosk ordering. It’s nice to know your business is appreciated.
There are tables and chairs for dining in and some communal high-tops in a pleasant enough atmosphere.
It should be mentioned that Mongolian barbecue is neither Mongolian nor barbecue. Its origins are Taiwanese, and stir frying is the dominant cooking method. But that doesn’t matter. The Mongolorian BBQ does what it does well and serve good food, freshly cooked for a fair price.