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Mongolian BBQ.... is it extinct in NJ?

Are there any Mongolian BBQ places left in NJ? There used to be a number of restaurants that did Mongolian BBQ in the Morris, Essex, Union area, but it seems they're all gone. It was so much fun loading up a bowl with various meats, vegetables, noodles and sauces; and then watching it all sizzle as the chef cooked it atop the huge, scalding hot Mongolian grill.

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    1. PJ lee's Mongolian BBQ is still there in Bricktown


      P.J. Lee's
      706 Route 70, Brick NJ
      (732) 262-0002


        1. I know I have seen Mongolian Grills at most of the Chinese buffets in Morris County. They look fine but I have never tried any. It is worth checking out.

          1. Ha! I remember going to Khiva (?) in Morristown and thinking it was such a fun, unusual experience when I was in my...teens? How times have changed! And you're right--there used to be on one in Millburn, too.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Curlz

              It was a tradition to eat there before going to the Papermill!

              1. re: Curlz

                I remember Khiva, too. Did they serve popcorn on the way out or am I hallucinating and thinking of one of those Chew and Choke steakhouses to which my parents took us?

                1. re: scarlet knight

                  I can't say I remember popcorn there...

                  1. re: scarlet knight

                    Never saw popcorn there when I went to Khiva.

                  2. re: Curlz

                    I remember Khiva also. Used to eat there every few months. Forgot my Amex there one night, didn't use it for a few weeks, was eating at Khiva again, went to use it and it wasn't in my wallet. I was eating with the same friend, who said to think back and remember the last time I used it. I thought for a minute and told him it was with him a few weeks back. Went up to the register, asked about it, and the guy took it out of a drawer under the register.

                    Good food there, my memory says it was a little better quality than some of the buffet places that have similar grills these days.

                    And to agree with some other posters, I think the sauces are key. I know that Khiva had better meat and sauces than the Mongolian Grill that used to be in New Brunswick.

                  3. I can't remember where, but I saw one in one of malls in Bergen County, but that was a long time ago. They are gone now. I haven't seen one in a long time. I think they might be a natural fit with some of those AYCE/buffet places. Good luck.

                    1. There is one just over the NY Border in Blauvelt... however, "Mongolian BBQ" is a phrase with ambiguous definition at many of these places.

                      The one in Blauvelt is basically mediocre Chinese-style food that you collect yourself and hand to a "chef" to throw around in a wok. . I was there once (never again) and the quality of the food was well below average. There are chains around the country (not in this area) that seize on this concept, I have relatives in Fla that love it, but I thought it was AWFUL.

                      Basically it's a gimmick.

                      Better to let a real Asian chef decide on ingredients and flavoring agents and cook it up him/herself. Wild Ginger in Ridgewood does this very well, a "different" style of Asian cooking.

                      1. Used to be a jp lees in new brunswick. The food quality wad always top notch. My record wss 4 huge bowls. Unfortunately they closed up and i really miss it. Brick is a bit of a drive but if it is still open i will have to make a trip.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: willtublin

                          Man, that is blast from the past. I haven't been to the Brick JP lees in ages. I wonder if that is still open too.

                          1. re: corvette johnny

                            Gave them a call (incidentally, in Brick they are "PJ Lee’s"), and they are still open for business. Nothing like a big steamy bowl of whatever on a hot Summer day!


                            1. re: equal_Mark

                              nice Mark!

                              Tapas, for some reason the Mongolian places just seemed to do it better than the chinese buffets. It could all be in my head but to me they beat out the china buffets. Maybe it is the wider variety of sauces or better sauces...who knows lol

                              1. re: corvette johnny

                                Johnny the sauces could be the key to a better "
                                Mongolian BBQ" per say?.......but, pretty much the rest of the ingredients protein & Veg are pretty much the same.....
                                "fancy lo mein" comes to mind there's a million combinations.. they were unique when introduced to the US market years ago but now its pretty much ran its course, & the Chinese Buffet competition destroyed them also... I hope there's a big turnaround in years to come bringing back the MOM & POP restaurants we grew up with in every type cuisine,.....the baby boomers & X generation misses them & the new generation doesn't even know what it was like. This chain revolution hopefully will disappear in the future but who knows if we'll be here to see that.......
                                meanwhile enjoy what you chowhound!!

                                1. re: Tapas52

                                  yeah I agree. It is probably just a mental thing and good memories of when the Mongolian places used to be more abundant.

                                  I have to remember to go to the one in brick next time I am down there. It has been a lot of years since I last visited a mongolian place.

                                  1. re: Tapas52

                                    In Monmouth County most of the Chinese Buffets fell to the wave of Hibachi Steakhouses in the past 10 or 15 years...

                          2. There is a place in Edison called "Little Sheep" that opened a couple of months ago. We went there this past week and the broth was great, as was the chicken, meat, vegetables, noodles, and meatballs. The only thing we didn't like was the edaname. Our server was patient and quite helpful. And pretty reasonable as well.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: tootsnj

                              Little Sheep -- in the US, that isn't Hot Pot?

                              I was thinking that the OP meant the flat-grill, you shop a buffet of raw and hand to a chef for cooking Mongolian BBQ.

                              Kris now in DC/NoVA

                              1. It's amazing that Mongolian BBQ places survives under the competition of Chinese Buffets all over that give you the so called BBQ "plus" everything else for one price......

                                1. I used to love JP Lee's in Millburn. The food was good, the place was large and open, the price was right, and Charlie the Owner was an incredibly nice and gracious host. He closed sometime around 2008, and I'm still holding out hope that he decides to reopen somewhere.

                                  I've been to the place in Blauvelt twice, and while I enjoyed it, they are a bit expensive. There was also a chain restaurant in the Palisades Mall for a couple of years called Fire + Ice. They were terrible. The food was OK, but it took 45 minutes to wait for it and the bowls were the size hollowed-out grapes. Plus, they made it a point to put signs everywhere stating that customers could take only one bowl at a time.

                                  I've heard that the Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet in Wayne has it, and Bon Buffet 2.0 in Maywood (man, were they great in the early 90s) used to have it, but I'm not sure if they do anymore.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: zhelder

                                    Wow... Fire + Ice.. I was wondering if they'd ever make it down to NJ.. there were a couple of locations when I lived up in Boston.. it was pretty good back then (over 10 years ago), but one time we walked out because our reservation was still not ready an hour later. I remember getting excited seeing that a Fire & Ice was coming to Menlo Park Mall but it turned out to be something different.

                                    I know Freehold Grand Buffet has a Mongolian Grill. I think there is a buffet called "Old Town Buffet" in East Brunswick which has one as well. Teppanyaki Buffet on 18 next to Hong Kong Market also has one. I'm sure there are others in the area.

                                  2. used to be a Mongolian BBq in Hoboken goin back over 10 years ago call the Gobi Grill. im sure it's long gone now. fun placew

                                    1. I was never really a fan of the Mongolian BBQ style. I tried it several times, went with friends, etc., and while I might have enjoyed the experience to some extent, and certainly the company -- I was just not a big fan of the food itself. I thought it was a bit of a novelty and I know it had its fans.

                                      That said, I saw several places, many years ago, that was exclusively Mongolian BBQ. I think it was a franchise, and I saw a location or two in a mall. I also saw several free-standing, independently owned, etc. restaurants. After time, I thought most of these got absorbed, turned into, etc. the AYCE buffet type place -- and I've never been a fan of those. I know there are a few that are well-liked, respected, etc. -- like the one in Little Ferry -- but for the most part, based upon my experiences, the food was not high-quality, often not prepared well, overly salted, "stale" and so on. I hate to stereotype, but I've found very few AYCE buffet type places that were very good.

                                      Don't get me wrong, I've been to a Chinese restaurant that offered an AYCE lunch buffet or something of the like -- and I've found a few that were good. But the large, AYCE buffet places, I tend to pass much more than go.

                                      I think some of the Hibachi type places have become more popular, although the AYCE places still seem to survive and continue.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: ELA

                                        Most go to so called Chinese buffet for Quantity vs Quality.

                                        1. re: Tapas52

                                          That makes sense. If that's what people find attractive, that's fine. My preference -- very good food, and if I am that hungry and want more...I'll order more and pay for it, LOL.

                                      2. Just passed this place the other night in Garwood.