Mongolian BBQ Downtown DC
First off I need to apologize, just got back from the Mongolian BBQ at Soho on 13th and K where the only stipulation is the food must all fit in the to-go container for it to cost $9.99 -- so it doesn’t really matter how many bowls you use for the raw ingredients, no matter how much they disapprove. I assessed the layout of the ingredients and utilized the dual bowl technique to fill up one bowl to the brim with 2/3 beef and 1/3 lamb, followed by a compacting cycle for 4 rotations. Probably got about 70 slices of the frozen meat slices in the bowl. Second bowl was for vegetables. Started the veggie bowl with a full layer of baby corn, arranged to lie flat and in one layer. I then added some zucchini to provide more structure, then built the pea pod fence around the edges of the bowl to provide a sturdy retaining wall. Then really piled on the mushrooms, I selected only slices, no quartered mushrooms b/c they are bulky and unwieldy on the tiny bowls, filled in the spaces with a mountain of bean sprouts, then encircled the bean sprout mountain with red pepper slices. The veggie bowl was stacked a good 6 inches above the rim, the meat was about an inch but thanks to the 2 bowl compacting technique its appearance betrayed the quantity of meat compressed below. OF COURSE we got some crap from the cook who said we couldn’t use 2 dishes, I responded that the sign says it must fit in one box and I know this will all fit, all while opening my wallet and reaching for a tip, then retracting it as he began to try to inform me of the rules. He then pointed out the 2 security cameras and begrudgingly put all the bowls onto the grill. He dumped on all the meat and veggies, and gave us a bowl back for us to make the sauce choices. Sauce selection was perfection, 4 scoops red chile sauce, 3 scoops Mongolian sauce, 1 scoop ginger sauce and a large spoonful of garlic. The cook changed his tune as the cooking progressed and asked if I wanted it all in one box, I said yes and presented him with his tip so he really crammed all the cooked food into one box. It was so bunched up it was pouring out of the edges, but it still fit in one, SUCCESS! While going and getting a drink, the cook must’ve given the cashier some signals b/c as we approached her with a jubilant “Oops, sorry about that!” she rang up our order, then shot us a glance and threw the box on the scale which shouldn’t come into play with the “set-price” Mongolian bbq. She then signaled back to the cook “3” with her hand, indicating the item was 3lbs but we were still only charged for 1 portion. I hope they don’t change any rules, the price is already pretty outlandish and with the quality of ingredients, it’s impossible to use $10 worth of food in one box but I think we took it to the limit today and nearly got our moneys worth.
Nice. Thanks for the pointers. I've heard about a 'lo-mein web/net-topping-off technique' to try and keep everything in it's place within the bowls, but it seems you've really thought things out and gone several steps further. I always see folks w/ their single bowls loosely 'piled high,' but the two-bowl meat compaction technique is revolutionary. Have you ever considered the juice from the pineapple bin as a sauce ingredient? My mom used to make 'em just like that a while back, but I have yet to add it to my repertoire. (Don't tell my wife) Again, a jam-packed post with excellent tips. Thanks