Monday, August 23, 2010

Big Day Downtown (Part III): The Mongolie Grill

The Mongolie Grill
One of my favourite places to eat downtown is the Mongolie Grill on the corner of Granville and Sackville Streets. It's located where the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame used to be. It's one of the few places where you can absolutely know every ingredient that is going into your meal, and over the past year and a half, when my big push was to lose weight, this was a huge benefit to me. It's one of the reasons why the Mongolie Grill is one of my picks for my Big Day Downtown.

VegetablesI suppose I should describe the premise of the Mongolie Grill a bit before I get started on my experience: You are presented with what resembles a salad bar of raw vegetables, meats, and sauces. You put the ingredients you want in your stir-fry into a small stainless steel bowl, and then have it weighed. This weight determines the price of your meal. You pay depending on how hungry you are! They then dump the contents of your bowl onto the largest cooking surface I've ever seen, and toss it until it's cooked. I should mention that they use water instead of oil when they stir-fry, so you know you're not getting more than you bargained for. There are oils that you can add in the sauce bar if you're into that sort of thing.

Hot and Sour soupI came into the restaurant at an odd time, 2:30pm, so I was the only one there! I got great service :), but even at its busiest, the wait staff are very attentive. Because of the buffet-style nature of the place, the menu is pretty much just appetizers and drinks; I usually opt out of those and go for a water. Besides, each meal is started with a bowl of your choice of either some kind of creamy soup (today was corn chowder) or some kind of spicy soup (today's was hot and sour soup). As a general rule, I try to stay away from cream-based stuff; I went with the hot and sour soup. Wasn't the hottest or sourest soup I've had at the Mongolie Grill, but it was good.

Weighing inI jammed some of my favourite vegetables into that bowl: broccoli, green onions (and regular onions), water chestnuts, carrots, green peppers. Don't give me any of that baby corn though, I can't stand it. Add some chicken and some scallops and a scoop of some hot oil, and we're off to the scales for the weigh-in. My meal weighed in at just over half a kilogram! A note to the vegans and vegetarians out there: if you don't have meat in your stir fry, you qualify for the vegetarian 20% discount. This has never applied to me, ever. However, those water-laden vegetables can be some of the heaviest things in your bowl. I've tried in the past to create the most weight-optimized meal possible, but I think I got a little too obsessed. I eventually gave that up.

The finished productAfter a few minutes, you're presented with the finished product--a fine stir-fried concoction of your own devising.  Mine sure looks good, doesn't it? I don't think I've ever had the same meal twice here. You can vary the ratios of the different vegetables and meats and combine the sauces however your taste buds see fit.

I've come to this restaurant dozens of times over the past two years, and I think I've only had one meal that was a little over-cooked. Other than that, I can't say that I've had a bad experience. Kudos to the Mongolie Grill for being consistently awesome!

Mongolie Grill stir-fry @ 0.565 kg + coffee + tip: $24.00
Left to spend: $66.75


Julie MacLeod said...

Can't say that I'm not a little disappointed that you went there while I was away since it's also one of my favourite places to eat!

Also, you forgot to mention the rice and rice paper wraps that are brought to your table to accompany the stir fry.

ElleBee said...

I LOVE the Mongolie Grill, it's one of my fav places to eat in Hali.

The service is always great and the food fresh & healthy! Can't get any better. :)