Sunday, September 09, 2012

Bowie Restaurant Project: (56) Bang Bang Mongolian Grill

Bang Bang is closed closed.

For an explanation of the Bowie Restaurant Project, look here.

For a list of all the Bowie Restaurant Project reviews, look here.

Bang Bang Mongolian Grill,  15752 Annapolis Road
Most Recent Foursquare Check-in: 8/27/2012
Total Foursquare Check-ins: 2
Pre-Foursquare Visits: No
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

I chose Bang Bang Mongolian Grill for a farewell lunch for a summer student who had been working for us. On the one hand, it could be a fun place to send him off, and it would be an opportunity to get several perspectives on the restaurant. On the other hand, he isn't coming back, so if we had a bad experience, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

When we arrived, the woman behind the register asked us if we had been there before. I felt like I didn't need a lecture on the whole "Mongolian Barbeque" concept, since I had eaten it before. (If you haven't, basically, you choose your ingredients, buffet-style, then a chef stir-fries them for you.) On the other hand, it was helpful to get the lowdown on specifics (e.g., pay first to get a bowl). While she briefly stepped aside to answer someone else's question, the woman with whom she had been chatting explained things to us. Including, "I used to work here." Which seemed weird, since they've only been open three months. "They fired me after I was late three times." Oh. Awkward.

The rest of the dining experience was much smoother, though I got worried when our student said he didn't even cook, so he wasn't really sure how to select his ingredients. He did OK, though he added way too many hot spices. I made the same mistake myself on a return visit. There are cards with pre-selected mixes of meats, veggies and spices that I suppose could serve as a guideline, but where's the fun in that?

Anyway, the food was fresh and tasty, and the interaction with the chefs was pleasant. I don't know that it's the perfect dining experience, but if you have been looking forward to a Mongolian barbeque restaurnt in Bowie, you won't be disappointed.

If you're just looking for Asian-style food, there are cheaper lunch alternatives around, but without the fun and customization. I am a little concerned about having this, Grace's and Sakura all in one shopping center, but they all seem to be serving different market segments.

One place where Bang Bang doesn't shine is take-out. If you have the time to select your ingredients and have it cooked, there's no problem taking it back to your home or office. But you can't exactly place a phone order and tell them what to throw in your bowl. When they opened, I was told that they were going to offer an on-line ordering option -- which would be fantastic -- but that has yet to materialize.

All in all, it's a really solid addition to the Bowie dining landscape, particularly for those who have gotten tired of "more of the same".

Bowie Restaurant News

Lima's Char Broiled Chicken

In May, I said, "Bowie needs a Peruvian chicken restaurant." Looks like we're getting one, coming to the former Ravza Mediterranean Cuisine location in Collington Plaza (next to New China).

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