Restaurants Reviews and Such

Mongo’s Grill – Blogger Night

Last week I received an invitation to a blogger night out at Mongo’s Grill. I had heard the name of the restaurant, but didn’t know an awful lot about it. Mongo’s is short for Mongolian, so in style it resembles at one level Palatal or Palatal Express. This should have been fairly obvious to me, but whenever I hear Mongo this is the first thing that comes to mind:
Don’t miss the video of me grilling. You’ll find it at the bottom of the post.
However, Mongo’s Grill is part of a fast casual chain. The one we visited out by Polo Park is one of three located in Winnipeg. While I said that it has something in common with Palatal, it shares more in common with Freshii. The emphasis here is not only on fresh ingredients, but also on having a really broad selection to chose from.
I was the first to show up for the evening, so I had a couple of moments to wander around the restaurant when I arrived. The restaurant was larger than I expected, but is also wide open, and as a diner you get a feeling of having plenty of space for you and your party. The grill is the centerpiece of the restaurant and it’s the first thing that catches the eye once you enter.
It was a smaller than usual group of bloggers that showed up. There was Kathryne from Food Musings, who had sent the invitations. Along with her came Amanda, Natalie, Rebecca, and Ian, as well as Prinz from the Marketing Department (TMD). Still, the smallish crowd didn’t stop us from having big fun. We were also joined briefly by Aaron, also of TMD. I didn’t get the name of all the people from Mongo’s that helped us during the course of the evening, but there were several. Our principal server was Amanda, and she along with everyone else, did an excellent job looking after our group.

Mongo's group shot.
The group of us at the end of the evening.

During the course of the evening we had a game to play. We were each given a movie phrase, and a Mongo’s inspired phrase to insert into conversation. I must say that I came in dead last, not using my Mongo’s phrase, and only getting in my movie phrase about 5 minutes before we left for the night.
Mongo’s offers you a bowl for $16.99 which you can fill with as much noodles, protein, and vegetables as you can manage. Along with this you get to choose the sauces which you which to add. Along the way Mongo’s offers a number of recipe ideas. You can also create your bowl out of whatever comes to the top of your head.

Mongo's Recipe
A recipe board for first time visitors. Notice that the sauce recommendations is for 8 scoops. That helps keep the stir fry moist.

Mongo’s Soup and Salad

In addition to the bowl itself you can get soup and salad to go with your stirfry. It’s $1.99 for one trip to the soup and salad bar. It’s $3.99 extra for unlimited trips to the soup and salad bar. Given that I was going to fill two bowls, I only made one trip for soup and salad. I had the Spicy Thai soup which was really good. I didn’t try the cauliflower soup, but I was sitting next to Prinz who did try it, and it looked and smelled delicious. I only made a desultory effort at the salad bar, but there is plenty of variety there.

A Mixed Meat Bowl

My first venture through the line, I went with a mixed meat bowl. I chose about 5 different types of meat, beef, pork, sausage, pepperoni, and chicken. I added a variety of vegetables. I don’t remember them all, but there were some red and yellow peppers and onions, pea pods, For my noodles I went with the Pad Thai noodles. My sauce consisted of several scoops of hot pepper sauce, some garlic sauce and ginger sauce. I wanted something spicy and I wasn’t disappointed.

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My first stir-fry plate.

Making my Own Mongo’s Bowl

Natalie and Amanda took a turn behind the grill, while the rest of us watched and offered comments some of which I’m sure were helpful and encouraging. We also took pictures, although mine didn’t really turn out. It looked like fun, so when I went up for my second bowl I asked if I could give it a whirl, and was granted the opportunity. Kathryne used my phone, and below is a video of my efforts.
This was a fairly basic plate. Chicken was my protein, and I only added a little bit of onion, green peas, and a couple of other things that have slipped my mind along with thin noodles. It requires a fair bit of effort to make this work, but I managed to get to the end with my meal still in edible form.
Mongo’s is licensed, and I really enjoyed the Merlot that was served with our meal. They also have several beers on tap, including Shock Top Wheat Beer. In addition they carry Angry Orchard Cider.
Once again I’d like to thank everyone involved for making this night happen. It was a great time and I’d highly recommend Mongo’s for your next family or group outing.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.