Location: 11670 Sarcee Trail NW
We’ve passed this restaurant on many occasions when going to other businesses in the Beacon Hill area. Each time, Brae and I have remarked that we should try this place out, but, of course, once it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. For a picky eater, this place is ideal. After all, there is complete control over every aspect of your dish; it is the ultimate customization of your meal. For those who are unfamiliar with Mongolian BBQs or grills, you are, in essence, given a bowl and told to fill it up with whatever you want. The charge varies by restaurant, but the charge is almost always based on weight.
The general rule with restaurants like these is not to choose foods that have a lot of water weight because when the cook, a lot of it is lost and you’re left with a sad, half full plate of food. This place is different and possibly better than others as it comes with wraps and rice so you don’t have to include a carb element in your dish which removes some of the “extra” weight.
At this restaurant, the food is arranged in several “stations.” While there is no proper way of going through the “stations,” Brae suggested we start at the vegetable station and move from there. In a way that makes the most sense because once you’ve loaded up on all your food then you would know how much sauce you need. I got water chestnuts, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, and white mushrooms from the veggie station, while Brae only got pineapple. There was a small section with noodles (two trays) following the veggies: Shanghai noodles and rice noodles. Brae grabbed some rice noodles. Next we moved on to the meat and seafood station. I got squid, prawns, chicken, and beef and Brae got beef, chicken, pork, imitation crab meat, salmon, shrimp, and scallops. The last station is the sauce station. They have such a variety that I was tempted to mix and match, but I knew that the flavour wouldn’t turn out well if I were to do that. I ultimately settled on a coconut curry sauce. Brae, of course, went straight for the teriyaki sauce, as per usual.
Our items were promptly weighed and we were given slips with the prices on them. Mine came to almost $20 and Brae’s was about $18. Given that the restaurant was practically empty when we go there, I’d say service was pretty fast. When mine came, it looked complete void of sauce even though I had put in a lot (that’s probably what made mine heavier than Brae’s). I could barely taste the sauce. It was as though it had completely evaporated as coconut curry sauce so often does when cooked unless a large quantity is used. The only other issue I had was that the beef was kinda tough. Or some pieces were and I nearly choked on one. Even Brae’s teriyaki sauce wasn’t as prominent as it normally is, but luckily, as Brae said, they will give you extra sauce on the side if you need it. And in my case, I poured the entire tea cup of it onto my dish in order for it to be enough. I would also recommend that you add salt to the dish before it is cooked because there’s nothing in there really that would give it that salinity. The food at the stations are just that. The raw, unaltered, unseasoned state that you’d expect. While the sauces are meant to season, most of them appear too weak and diluted to do much. But I suppose, as in my case, I would normally recommend tasting before adding more salt to the dish and they do have salt at the table if you find that you need some salt after the fact.
While the rice is just rice, I was glad that they included it in the meal as part of the overall price. The wrap on the other hand tasted raw to me and reminded me of spring roll wrappers before they have been deep fried, which made me want to go deep fry them and eat them like that.
While it was good, I’m not sure it is good enough for me to want to return. I feel as though Open Sesame offered a better selection of items and tasted more polished, if you will. The service on the other hand was pretty good. The waitress, who I think was also the hostess, checked in at the perfect times. Based on my overall experience today I’d give it a 2.75/5, but, of course, I’d be willing to give the place another chance some day down the road. Especially since I’ve never seen Brae eat his food so fast in my life. He clearly enjoyed it and seeing him that happy over food makes me happy.