Once upon a time, the official Mongolian BBQ chain was like the coolest thing in the world. Pick your own stir fry with ridiculous flavors that always taste good together?! Not bad at all. And thus it was followed by other, similar spots like Gobi Mongolian Grill in Vancouver, Washington that tried to add their own flair to the concept. Knowing I needed a mess of food to put me to bed early, I decided to try the place out.
Compared to the Chengdu-style hot pot, Mongolian hot pot looks like it came from another planet. Or at least a much older planet. Differing from most other hot pots, this one still uses hot coals rather than an electric stove. It also looks nothing like a pot and looks more some obscure ancient brass ware you might find at an antique store. The broth, which is essentially water flavored by ginger and scallions, fills a moat that surrounds the central silo. This silo contains the coals that boil the hot pot.
For a while now, I have been a devout member of Blackboard Eats, an email list that sends out some cool deals for restaurants like 30% off, a free dessert, a free bottle of wine, etc. One deal they sent out recently, though, caught my eye. It was 30% off for a place called Gobi Mongolian BBQ in Silver Lake. I’ve always loved me some Mongolian BBQ because you get to decide everything you want in your food, so if you don’t want any vegetables like a smart little unvegan, you don;t have to pick up any. Plus, they are all-you-can-eat; a big bonus for this guy. Or are they?