Genghis Grill

Build-your-own bowl with beef, chicken and assorted vegetables.

Restaurant: Genghis Grill

Location: 11500 Midlothian Turnpike in Chesterfield Towne Center (additional location at 11849 W. Broad St.)

Telephone: (804) 420-8888

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday- Saturday.

Check for two: $21.59 plus tip

Entrée prices: $9-$15

Taste: Genghis Grill bills itself as a build-your-own stir-fry restaurant. The restaurant’s name comes from Mongolian warrior and emperor Genghis Khan. Reportedly, he and his warriors, while out on their raids, prepared their meals over an open flame, thus the grill concept.

The restaurant has traditional menu entrées (seared salmon and burgers), but I opted to get a bowl: a semi self-serve option that allows you to mix and match various meats/proteins, vegetables, spices, sauces and starches.

The bowls come in three sizes: small, regular and large. For lunch, my dining partner and I both ordered a regular size bowl ($10.25 during lunch hours) and a glass of water.

The waitress asked us which starches we preferred (rice, noodles, etc.), checked that off on a small card, then handed us the card. She provided us each with an empty bowl that we then took to the build-your-own bar to fill with our protein, vegetable and sauce selections.

The food bar is set up so you select your meat/protein (which is uncooked), raw vegetables, spices and sauce and then you take those selections to a cooking station where restaurant employees cook your meal on a central grill, adding your choice of various starches. According to company literature, there are more than 80 items from which to choose.

I filled my bowl with chicken, thinly sliced beef, scallions, baby corn, broccoli and shredded cabbage. For the sauce, I opted for something described as smoky Asian. My dining partner chose something similar, minus the beef and a different sauce. Since she had been there before, she knew not to put the sauce over the vegetables right away but to use the little metal bowls at the food bar for the sauce. If added at the start of the cooking process, the sauce would burn.

For those who want some guidance on what to mix and match, there are recipe cards that tell you what selections to make for dishes such as Hong Kong Beef and Smokey BBQ Bacon.

After making our selections, we handed our bowls and the cards with our starches selections to the grill attendant and went back to our table to wait.

In less than five minutes, a waitress brought us our steaming hot meals in big red serving bowls.

The food was tasty — nowhere near as greasy as a lot of fast-casual and fast-food Asian meals. The vegetables were fork-tender, the meat and chicken flavors meshed well and the sauce was spicy and smoky with a hint of sweetness. We both finished our bowls.

Service: We were greeted when we entered and seated right away. A waitress came immediately, checked back once we got our meals and asked later if we wanted water refills.

Ambience: Family-friendly. During lunch it was moderately busy, and the noise level was acceptable.

Bottom line: I would go back. The food was tasty. The portions were decent-sized, but in an era of supersized meals, I was hoping to have enough for leftovers but didn’t.

— Tammie Smith

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