bd's Mongolian Grill dishes raucous dining for hyper family fun
Podcast: Bobby and Andy, behind the scenes at the new Mongolian grill
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The new bd's Mongolian Grill in Bayshore Town Center has about everything a kid (and by the transitive property, his or her parents) could want in a new restaurant. It's reasonably priced, mostly healthy (if a little salty) food, served up by a friendly and chatty group of (youthful) cooks.
And, oh yeah, it's really, really loud: between the cranked-up music and the frequent banging of the gong, it's enough to send a pre-teen into hysterics and anyone without kids scrambling for a quiet corner table.
Mom and Dad might get a little hysterical, too, but probably more because of the sensory overload. If you're the type who rolls his eyes when an amped-up cook shouts, "You've been Mongo-lized!" you might think twice about dining at bd's, 598 W. Northshore Dr. On the other hand, your menu options are virtually unlimited, and with an all-you-can-eat mentality that skews either Asian or Latin, you get lots of bang for your buck.
The concept isn't completely original for bd's Mongolian Grill, which is a 12-state franchise (the Bayshore location is the first in Wisconsin). Wauwatosa has had a Mongolian style restaurant, Genghis Khan Mongolian BBQ, 725 N. Mayfair Rd., for years. But bd's is a much more polished, user-friendly experience.
In a nutshell, here's how it works: your waiter brings you drinks, rice and/or tortillas … the rest is up to you.
Half the restaurant is set up in stations. First, you grab a laminated card with any one of at least a dozen suggested entrees. Our group chose Mongolian beef, chicken fajitas and a seafood stir fry of our own design. Yes, you can also freestyle and make your own concoction, and you're encourage to tweak a pre-designed dinner to your liking.
Next, you head to the meat "pod," where you pile your raw food into a small bowl. From there, you add the suggested vegetables, sauces and spices into the bowl.
The last stop is at the raucous grill, where a handful of chefs congregate around a round, sizzling, seven-foot, 600-degree stove top, wielding pairs of long, scooping devices that look more aptly suited to be found at the end of Edward Scissorhand's arms.
Different diners' entrees get really close to each other, so if you're a vegetarian, a little beef might touch the edges of your pile of food. But that's about the only pitfall to this unique style of dining.
Here's also where the chatter, the lingo and the omnipresent gong-banging goes on. The chefs are expert small talkers, evoking giggles from North Shore kids and grown-ups, alike.
Just a few minutes later, your dish is done. You can add soup or salad (or something from the "allergy-free zone") at a bar that has just the basics: iceberg lettuce, bacon bits, cheese, a range of dressings, etc., and a couple soups, which were hearty but fairly run of the mill.
Even before the restaurant officially opened for business (we checked the joint out during a preview), it was a well-oiled machine (pardon the pun).
The prices were competitive too, especially considering it's all-you-can-eat. For around $13, you'll leave very full. A lunch bowl is $8.49, $11.49 at dinner. Add a trip to the salad and soup bar and it's $9.99 and $13.99. You can also buy the all-you-can-eat stir fry and salad and soup bar for $12.99 at lunch and $14.99 at dinner. Children 2 and under eat free, ages 3-6 pay $4.99 and 6-11 pay $5.99.
And the food was quite good; think a slightly more upscale Chin's Asia Fresh that you assemble yourself. Remember, you're the main chef, so if you screw up the recipe, it's technically your fault. You probably wouldn't hold bd's up against either a top-notch Asian or Mexican restaurant, but in the area, expect this place to be hopping.
The decor is attractive, but basic and unobtrusive. The experience and the fun are obviously the focus.
If your kids are the type that love a trip to Organ Piper Pizza, they'll be pleased with dinner at bd's, too. But adults, just make sure to get Zen before you walk in. To maintain your sanity, you'll need to arrive with the right attitude for this high-energy, high-volume dinner.
Before I begin, I would like to express that in general I have had a quite favorable opinion of BDs restaurants. I have patronage the Glendale, WI and other location for many years. However, it has been close to a year since I went to the BDs in Glendale, WI. , and after my last visit I would be hard pressed to every set foot into a BDs restaurant. On May 26, 2012 at 7:30pm, my family and I stopped in for dinner at the Glendale location, it was close to a year since I have been to this particular location, and it was one of my favorite restaurants when I worked in the area. Unfortunately, right away I noticed that the restaurant had gone downhill, and the point began crystal clear upon being greeted by an unwashed hostess with the manners of a runaway child. Upon being seated, my wife and I immediately commented on how dirty the restaurant seemed. The tables, chairs, floors, walls, the food prep area, and the wait staff were filthy and grungy. However, the previously mentioned seemed clean by comparison to the restrooms. The restrooms, both the men and woman, were embarrassingly dirty; a sty would be better description. When it came to the food and service, it definitely matched the restaurants atmosphere. My food was still had ice chucks in my meat, along with other peoples stuff from the grill. This should not have surprised me, since the cooks spent more time acting like gangster circus performers then actually cooking. I can appreciate the effort in trying to make the visit more memorable, but getting my food badly cooked by dancing Snoop Dog impersonators is not my form of entertainment. In the restaurant business, I thought the cooks are the one group in a restaurant that should look presentable. Seeing a cooks dirty underwear before one eats is not appealing, no matter how fabulous it might look otherwise. When it came the wait staff service, it was simply awful, however that can be squarely blamed on the management or lack thereof, and after dealing with one of the playground managers I clearly saw the source of the poorly motivated service. The whole visit and Glendales BDs restaurant in general can be described by one word. And word is, as uttered by wife as we exited the restaurant was . GHETTO!
Good food and nice staff. Now I wish we'd get a Flatop Grill downtown somewhere... similar concept on a smaller scale.
I must admit, I initially had my reservations about this place based on a friend's recommendation but after dining there I was thoroughly impressed with all aspects of the dining. The cooks actually looked like they were having fun and the food was quite tasty. It's hard not to like this place unless you don't like getting up to select your meats, veggies, and sauces. Out of curiosity, what should you tip your server in a restaurant like this when you're the one who hand selects your food, waits for it to get cooked, and then returns for seconds?
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