Disclaimer: We received a free meal, including dessert, as part of BD’s Mongolian Grill’s preview night. Our total bill was approximately $35.
Even though I had absolutely no plans on reviewing BD’s Mongolian Grill because it’s a chain, after reviewing Molly Cool’s Seafood Tavern in Lakeville the other day and taking an inordinate amount of flak for my very constructive criticism, I figured it would only make sense to do it for BD’s as well. While BD’s itself is a bit larger than the Molly Cool’s chain, they are both regional chains and both companies have numerous stores under their control.
We had reservations (thanks to reader “Scott” who gave me a heads up via e-mail) for 7:30 on Saturday night. We had to move plans to attend Mr. and Mrs. Marcos’ annual Halloween party to a bit later to accommodate this but she graciously accepted knowing that I need to appease my readership ;) We arrived and I dropped my wife off at the front entrance while I searched for a parking spot. Outside a live band was playing to the few people hanging around the entrance. They were asking the people walking in if they had any requests but they didn’t seem to hear me when I jokingly suggested “Light My Fire” by The Doors (fitting due to the chill in the air and the fact that we were all near the door, har har).
After having our reservation checked in the foyer we were permitted into the main entrance and were immediately accosted by a very enthusiastic young pre-hostess who asked us, “are you ready to mongo?!” When I countered with a blank stare and a non-committal response she said that we definitely would be after we tried the food. She then asked what I was expecting and I replied that I assumed that it would be just like all of the other BD’s I have been to (Ann Arbor and one outside of Kansas City)–something which seemed to surprise her greatly. We headed up to the main hostess podium and were told that it was a 15 to 20 minute wait. We were 15 minutes early so I didn’t see any issues with this and being that the restaurant was completely fucking packed, including the bar, at least it wasn’t because they were farting around with empty tables. During our wait the pre-hostess came over to chat, annoying my wife, and wanted to know where these other BD’s were. I answered politely but was also getting a little aggravated which I think had more to do with the fact that I was ravenous than anything else.
Right on time our buzzer went off and we were seated. I hadn’t been in Macaroni Grill in years and was only there once (god it was awful from what I remember) so I can’t tell if much has changed aside from the addition of buffet lines for salad and BBQ meats, veggies and toppings and the BBQ grill in the back corner of the restaurant. Our waiter brought us menus and asked if we needed any help with how things worked. He was also quite surprised that we had both eaten at BD’s but didn’t bother us again (although my wife did mention that our friendly pre-hostess did stop by again later to attempt to chat her up).
We eventually went up and grabbed a salad at the salad bar. While not as good as what you’d find at Ruby Tuesday’s, it’s pretty decent although if you’re really into Mongolian BBQ I suggest you just skip it–just like you would if you went to Fogo de Chao. They had your typical toppings (mostly from the BBQ side of things) with a variety of salad dressings to go with it. Everything appeared fresh and crisp and the salad I ended up making was perfectly fine for me.
After the salad we went up to the BBQ bar and started piling shit into our bowls. Several staff members were hovering around the buffet lines and were always asking if you needed any help or suggestions. They also offer cards of suggested recipes that you can recreate yourself. Me? I like to dabble and just put on whatever I want so while my wife chose to go the card route, I just did whatever felt good. I started with a seafood stir fry that included scallops, shrimp, and calamari but for those of you interested in those offerings they had tilapia and imitation crab as well. I moved on to the vegetable line and was again asked if I needed help but piled on numerous veggies and then dry spices, oils, and sauces of my own choosing (I believe their garlic chili sauce, extra garlic, chili powder, red pepper flakes, and whatever else I saw that was spicy). After smashing my bowl down to fit everything in I headed up to the grill and was directed to an open spot by one of the staffers. I have been to plenty of Mongolian BBQ places and this was the first time that I have not had to wait in line for a spot at the grill.
The grillers were a lot of fun and were singing, chanting, and even juggling their sticks. While this is no different than what I have seen at BD’s before, it was still nice to see the grillers doing that even though this was one of the first times they were open. The only issue that occurred was that the guy doing my plate almost forgot to add my sauces to the grill after the meat was cooked but before he plated my food another griller brought this to his attention and it was quickly rectified. After delivering my seafood stir fry plate to me I doused it with tons of Sriracha (they also have Tabasco, A1, Lea and Perrins, and some other stuff available if you so desire) before bringing it back to my table. The food was great. While this restaurant doesn’t really have to do anything but cook your own prepared meals I was pleased that everything was done properly and that the sauces and spices tasted nice. I was pleased with my creation and even though I was pretty fucking stuffed I just had to go back up for one more.
My second trip was for a steak bowl. BD’s had both NY Strip and Ribeye meat and I went with both. Onions, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, black pepper, garlic, soy, and teriyaki were selected by me and again no wait at the grill. After plating I chose both L&P and A1 and went back to taste the food. The steak was overcooked for my liking but I suppose that’s just how it works there. The meat was still tender and flavorful. Another one that I liked a lot.
After dinner my wife ordered a dessert (we didn’t expect that to be free but it was) and chose their ice cream sundae with fudge (sans peanuts) and also added some caramel to it for good measure. For the first time all evening no one was waiting on us hand and foot and after nearly 30 minutes our dessert finally arrived. When my wife asked for no peanuts the waiter reminded us that if we have any specific allergies that they are happy to cook your food in the back away from everyone else’s, nice. The dessert was fine, nothing fancy but it was a good size for what I believe would have been $4.
Overall the food was great and the service was a little too good. I enjoyed the experience and will definitely be returning as this is a nostalgic restaurant for my wife and I being that it was there that we had our first real date in Ann Arbor, MI. Ahh, memories. It was also nice to see a restaurant, newly opened, that had nearly no issues during the preview night. My only suggestions are these:
1. A little less on the staff hovering. It was actually a bit much–especially if you are familiar with Mongolian BBQ.
2. The only MN beer on tap at the bar was Summit. While I realize that BD’s just moved their HQ to Burnsville recently, I think that they should really try and embrace some of the other great beers that could go along with their stir fry offerings.
3. Turn down the music. Between the noise of the patrons and the music, it was a bit loud inside.
So that’s all I have but I’m wondering what you think. Have you eaten at BD’s Mongolian BBQ in Burnsville (or anywhere else)? What did you think of it? Do you believe that their meat and vegetable offerings are superior to that of other local places (like Khan’s–I do)? Whatever you have to say about BD’s go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.
BD’s Mongolian Grill
1025 County Road 42 W
Burnsville MN 55306
See all the pictures from BD’s Mongolian BBQ in Burnsville on Flickr here.