Editor's note: Bites Nearby is typically a short feature on a restaurant, its history and menu. Patch contributing writer recently filed this restaurant review, which we're running for this week's Bites Nearby feature.
It’s 5:30 pm and your family is driving down 228th Avenue after a long day of work, school and practice. As you try not to be tempted by the fast food restaurants in the rear view mirror, your mind draws a blank when you think about dinner.
There is no time to race home and whip up a grand meal. While the protests of hunger increase from the back seat, you attempt to remember when your kids last had a vegetable. Sound familiar?
Well, all is not lost on the Sammamish Plateau. Your dinner problem is solved when you head to , located on Northeast 8th Street near the bike shop.
Mongolian Grill is a sit down stir-fry restaurant that serves food fast by using a buffet style of ordering. Adults and children will enjoy the many choices and unique way of creating your stir-fry dish. The first step when you walk in is to head to the counter and grab a bowl. Regular ($10.35), medium ($9.58) and kid-size ($7.56) bowls are available.
Fill your bowl with noodles (regular, wheat or Thai) and then proceed to pick your vegetables. If you and your child are adventurous eaters there is spinach, onions, green cabbage and water chestnuts, just to name a few. For the more picky eater, pineapple and carrots are good ones to choose. The restaurant offers over 20 different veggies to please any type of eater.
After squeezing it all into your bowl, seasonings such as ginger, garlic or sesame can be added. The whole adventure of picking what goes into your stir-fry bowl is great fun for kids of all ages. But the real excitement comes when the cook stir-fries it up. First he will ask for your choice of meat (chicken, beef, tofu, shrimp, cod, lamb or pork) or tofu. He then expertly pours your bowl of raw veggies, noodles and meat onto a gigantic cooking stone.
The stone is as big as a table and can cook multiple stir-frys at once. The food sizzles as the cook deftly maneuvers it back and forth in an area of the stone. Finally he whisks it expertly to a plate and adds a piping hot spoonful of rice (white or brown). The final choice is a tasty sauce that can be spicy or not. Teriyaki is a big favorite but sweet and sour, plum and the popular spicy Mongolian are also delicious accompaniments to your meal.
When I received my large plate of food, it was filled with an appetizing blend of Asian noodles, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, green peppers and mushrooms. Since I am a vegetarian, I selected the tofu. The final touch was teriyaki sauce. My husband also had a large plate of many of the different vegetables, including green onions, baby corn, celery and water chestnuts. He had wheat noodles and the chicken for his meat choice. He bravely tried the spicy Mongolian sauce and was not disappointed.
Rounding out lunch or dinner is a choice of beer and wine, soda as well as juices. Mongolian Grill now makes the popular bubble tea which is similar to an Italian Soda with a choice of chewy tapioca balls at the bottom. In addition, hot herbal tea in pretty ceramic mugs can be purchased.
As you slip into a comfortable chair or booth, it is easy to relax and enjoy conversation with your family. Tiny strings of lights decorate the walls and children will enjoy a water statue that has a large stone ball on the top. Pendant lights and a brown-maroon color palette makes the room feel cozy and adds to the eating ambiance.
For those that can’t leave their big screen at home, a game plays on an unobtrusive flat screen in the far corner. The food is presented piping hot and as you devour it with a fork or bravely attempt chopsticks, you’ll be amazed at how good vegetables can taste.
All three of my children love going to Mongolian Grill. Although at home vegetables are frowned upon, somehow when they get to choose them at Mongolian Grill, the idea becomes much more appealing. Although their plates are always heavy on the noodles and sauce, they do eat the vegetables and meat or tofu. Of course, looking forward to the free fortune cookies at the end of the meal helps too.
Although you might think that stir-fry isn’t going to fill you up, our family often can’t even finish all the food and we end up taking it home to eat for lunch the next day. Mongolian Grill offers that feeling of going out for dinner without gouging the pocketbook. Your kids won’t be bored and a family of five can eat for less than $50. Not bad for an evening on the Plateau.
Restaurant notes: , 22830 NE 8th St., is located in the Saffron shopping center in Sammamish. Phone: 425-836-8808. Lunch and dinner are available as well as take out. Hours: Monday-Friday, 11 am - 9:30 pm, Saturday, 11:30 am - 9:30 pm and Sunday 11:30 am - 9 pm. Price: Lunch, per person, ranges from $6 - 9 and dinner, per person, ranges from $7 - 10.