I’m a big fan of HuHot Mongolian Grill. The all you can eat aspect aside, I enjoy the idea that I get to not only choose the ingredients but I also am in complete control of what flavors go into the dish. In fact, about the only thing I dislike about HuHot is that they are usually busy and I have to wait to get a table and then wait to have my food prepared. Still, we usually make it over to HuHot a couple of times a year because we enjoy it so much.
Based on this, it should come as no surprise that when I heard a new restaurant was coming to my neighborhood that featured a new take on the Mongolian Grill concept, I would be eager to try it. Bang Bang is just that place and if competition is good for both parties, then we should see both places grow for the better.
We visited Bang Bang last Monday for lunch. Since most of the world had the day off for Independence Day, we waited until about 1 pm in hopes that the lunch crowd would settle down. As we arrived, we were promptly greeted and were told it would be about 15 to 20 minutes for a table. Not a problem so we looked over a menu while we waited.
Although the heart of the menu is the Mongolian Grill bar, they did offer a wide range of Asian inspired appetizers and desserts. They also featured a full bar with both Samuel Adams and Fat Tire on tap, something this beer snob is happy about. Although we did not sample any of the other appetizers or desserts, we did hear that the bananas foster spring rolls were unique and tasty from family who visited ahead of us.
Soon enough we were called to our table. Here we encountered our first bump as the table we were assigned would not accommodate a high chair. With a 9 month old, having a high chair is more than just nice; it’s somewhat of a necessity. They did offer us a booster seat which worked, but required a bit more work for us as diners. Still, it worked, but by asking us ahead of time if we wanted a high chair, they could have seated us in a different location.
Our waiter took our drink orders and asked if we wanted white or brown rice. That’s right, you actually get a choice here of brown or white rice and that is a nice change of pace as compared to most places. In fact, Jules said that the offerings were such that someone who wanted to eat healthy truly could. That is also a nice change of pace as compared to many dining places.
We were left to our own devices to get to the grill and that was the second bump in the road. We weren’t directed to the bar properly and it caused some confusion for Jules and Joe who went ahead of me. Soon enough, though, they were getting their creations and moving on to the grill. Overall, and I’ve heard this complaint from others, the grill moved a little slow as compared to HuHot. Granted it was a holiday and they may not have anticipated the crowd, but the grill did seem to move a little slow.
The bar, however, was fantastic. Not only can you find the normal options, but they had a full complement of seafood options, something not usually found on a lunch bar. Everything looked fresh and they also had a decent salad bar along with a fajita and nacho fixings bar. This begins to separate Bang Bang from your normal Mongolian Grill as they offer options beyond the traditional Asian inspired food you usually see.
The next biggest thing you’ll notice is that they offer dry spices in addition to the normal sauces and oils. This was fantastic for both flavor and a healthier option. As a garlic lover, I was able to load up on garlic powder along with cracked black pepper for an extra kick. Even the sauces offered show that the options include southwestern flavors in addition to the traditional Asian flavors. Just be careful of the jalapeño sauce as it bites (just ask Joe!)
Overall, we really enjoyed Bang Bang. The new flavors were a fun addition to the normal Mongolian Grill fare. The options were plentiful, the staff very pleasant and the pricing very competitive. Certainly there were bumps, but considering the restaurant is fairly new, I am willing to chalk these up to growing pains and that they should resolve them soon. I can say that I would heartily recommend Bang Bang.
One last note for those who want to know how it compares to HuHot: I hesitate to compare the two as they are similar, but they are different in many ways. I think Bang Bang has an edge in flavors and options but HuHot has a slight edge in logistics right now. Time will tell if they keep that. I can say that both are great options and I would encourage you to give Bang Bang a try if you are a fan of HuHot. It may not replace HuHot on your list, but hopefully you’ll see, as I do, that Bang Bang is a great option for something different. I plan on enjoying both places in the future.
NOTE: I did not receive any compensation for this review, paid my tab for myself and family on my own and am writing this review just to complement Bang Bang on a job well done. I also have no pictures because I was really hungry when we went!