2362 North Germantown Parkway
Last Friday, Satchel (8) and I had to go to Collierville to get his cast off. (He broke his arm jumping out of a tree two weeks earlier.) Since I let him choose a restaurant after getting it put on (Huey's), he wanted to choose a restaurant after getting it off. He naturally wanted to go back to Huey's, but I encouraged him to pick someplace different. His second choice was the Grand Buffet. Since what he likes most about the Grand Buffet is the Mongolian Grill, I told him about Genghis Grill.
From their website:
Genghis Grill-The Mongolian Stir Fry, is a build your own bowl, fast casual, Asian stir-fry concept. The atmosphere is colorful, lively, and a lot of fun! It's actually not a cuisine, but an INTERACTIVE style of exhibition cooking modeled after a centuries-old legend. According to this legend, 12th century Mongol warriors, led by the mighty warrior GENGHIS KHAN, heated their shields over open fires to grill food in the fields of battle!!How could we resist that?
Jiro (6) had a sleepover, but Warren was able to meet us when he got off of work. Seven o'clock on a Friday probably wasn't the best time to go. We arrived to find a line out the door and were told it would be a 30 minute wait. (The picture above was taken after dinner.) Since Jiro, who is the antsier of my two monkeys, wasn't with us and Satchel & I had fortified ourselves with gas station sushi on the way out East, and Warren can go days without eating, we agreed to wait. We took a seat inside and perused the menu. I also took the opportunity to check out the restrooms, which were very nice and contained a changing table.
We ended up only waiting about ten minutes before being seated. Then our waiter, Ken, came over to literally walk us through the Genghis Grill process. (I really freaked him out when I took his picture.)
Ken had a whole speech prepared which really wasn't necessary since we are intelligent people and had spent ten minutes with the menu, but we let him break it down for us. Basically you are given a bowl and let loose on a massive buffet of meats, veggies, seasonings, sauces, and starches. You can cram as much into your bowl as you want for $9.99 if you are an adult, and for $4.99 if you are a "future warrior" like Satchel. (You can fill up your bowl repeatedly for $12.99.)
If you don't feel confident in your ability to create a decent tasting bowlful, there are different recipes you can try.
We opted for the free for all. I was sad that Jiro wasn't with us because I would have enjoyed seeing what he decided to put in his bowl. However, I feel certain he would have gotten sticky in the selection process and forced me to take him to the bathroom to wash his hands multiple times. I didn't miss that.
I should also point out that if you have allergies, this is not the place for you. There was quite a bit of "cross pollination" happening on the buffet.
Satchel chose an assortment of nectarines, pineapples, tofu, baby corn, potatoes, and green beans.
At the end of the line, you tell the chef what starch you want: rice, fried rice, noodles, or tortillas. Then you have the choice of sitting down and having it delivered, or you can watch and pick it up yourself.
We opted to watch. It's definitely quite a show. The only bad thing about this, is that the floor near the cooking area is crazy sticky. Like stickier than a movie theater floor.
Warren noted that everyone who worked in the restaurant. He wasn't sure if it was a purposeful or unconscious attempt to make it appear as though there were actual Mongolians employed there.
I'd say it took about five minutes for them to cook everything, and we were all very happy with the end result. You could do a final dusting of sesame seeds and other crunchies at the bar.
Satchel was thrilled by the giant bowl he created. He couldn't actually finish, but he ate most of it.
I was happy with my bowl, but I think that following a recipe, at least mostly, might be the way to go. I don't know that the average person can really concoct something awesome. Warren came close, but he went a little overboard with the spices.
Ken, the coolest waiter ever (according to Satchel), was somehow able to convince us to order dessert. Satchel chose the Oreo pie, despite claiming to be freezing.
The side facing him was much more spectacular looking. Warren and I insisted on helping him eat this, and I have to say, it was YUM.
At the end of the meal, I had a chopstick cramp but was full and happy. Warren, despite eating his bowl and the rest of Satchel's, claimed to still be hungry still. Next time we'll let him get the bottomless bowl.
A final note--Genghis Grill is very busy, at least on weekends, and has a full bar. Several people were partaking of blue drinks and other fancy cocktails, but there were also plenty of families there. Still, this may be more of a weeknight kind of place for those dining with monkeys.
Oh, and they have a pretty nice patio.