Genghis Grill has been around since 1998, but the franchise finally invaded The Columns of Jackson in Spring of 2012. It's touted as do-it-yourself stir-fry, which didn't sound particularly appealing to me at first. Finally, a few weeks ago, my daughter convinced me that I absolutely had to try it. She also agreed to walk me through the process of creating my own Mongolian stir-fry dish.
When we arrived, we were seated by a hostess and given a card to fill out. Already, my heart was pounding. A card? To fill out? I didn't even know what they had. How could I possibly know what I want? It turned out to be painless. All it asked for was a name on one side and on the other, a decision: fried rice or noodles.
When our server arrived, there was another choice to make. Did I want a 10 oz. bowl or the 15 oz. bowl? I wasn't sure at all, so I asked to see them both. The 15 oz. bowl had a sauce dish attached; the smaller one didn't. I went with convenience, and got the one with the accompanying dish on its side.
Next, it was off to the raw meat section of the buffet. While nothing looked particularly appealing in its uncooked form, I filled my bowl with bits of steak and small shrimp. Then, there were several seasonings to choose from. I had no idea what to get, so I went with salt and pepper.
Moving forward, I had now arrived at the vegetables. Again, I played it safe and went with green peppers and onions. The menu says there are 70 items to choose from, and while I didn't personally count to verify that, that appears to be the case. I wasn't sure exactly how much food I should put in my bowl, and politeness won out. I stopped right at the top of the bowl, double checking that it was perfectly level.
Now it was time to utilize that handy side bowl. I went with the 3G sauce upon my daughter's recommendation, filling my bowl to the brim.
Finally, it was on to the grill master. He asked me if I wanted fried rice or noodles, and I proudly showed him that I'd already designated rice on my card. I grabbed a pair of chopsticks on the way back to my table, and noticed that other patrons had piled the contents of their bowls as high as gravity would allow.
A few minutes later, our server brought my creation to the table, and I suddenly understood what my daughter had been trying to tell me all along. I can make the best Mongolian stir-fry this side of Mongolia. I just never knew it.
As we enjoyed our dinner, we each gave ourselves pats on the back for making such delicious meals. In fact, we did it so well that we tried it at home a few nights later. It appears that our gift for making stir-fry is less apparent at home. It was edible, but I found myself wishing we'd just gone back to Genghis Grill.