Urban Grill. Is it a Deal or No Deal?

By Tana Kosiyabong

Urban Grill Mongolian Barbecue by weight

Last week I had a morning meeting with a client in downtown Vancouver. Once it was over, I headed toward the main library to do some research. But since it was already 11:30 am, I wanted to stop for an early lunch first. Soon enough, I came across a Mongolian Barbecue restaurant on Granville street called Urban Grill. Underneath the name appears a phrase “Create Your Own Stir Fry.” Because I was in the mood for a balance meal of veggies and meat, I decided to check it out.

When I walked inside, I then realized that the restaurant connects with another restaurant called Urban Sushi from within. Although both restaurants have their own entrances and dining sections, patrons can walk from one to the other. They are also welcomed to sit in either sections. It is likely that both restaurants own by the same owner.

Urban Grill Selections

Since I was there for the Mongolian barbecue, I started to explore the fresh ingredients on the display carts. It didn’t take me long to see that, unlike most local Mongolian barbecue I know, Urban Grill sells theirs by weight ($2.25/100 grams with a minimum of $4.50 (200 grams) plus HST). Once I learned about their pricing model, I first hesitated to give it a try. Then I felt more relieved after knowing that all the order comes with rice. With that in mind, I need to be cautious about what I put on the plate.

Even then, I couldn’t help but fall into one of the booby traps called noodles. “You stupid! The dish comes with rice,” I cursed myself when I realized my mistake. Unfortunately I had already piled up the raw spicy korean beef on top of the noodles. It would be too unsanitary to put them back. Oh well, I’ll plan it better next time.

Urban Grill raw ingredients

Urban Grill offers fresh, thicker pieces of meat instead of the paper thin frozen ones found in most local Mongolian Barbecue joints. Although I like the fresher approach, I suspect that it comes with the price of the extra water weight. Remember that the heavier your plate, the more you pay.

After I finished my selection, I took my plate to the cashier. She handed me a selection form which I can opt for the rice portion, and the kind of seasonings I want in the stir fry.  Since I got some noodles in the plate, I went with regular portion of rice and extra hot chili sauce. But I’ll definitely go for extra rice and no noodles next time. The cashier then told me the total was $7.70 ($8.62 with HST). A bit pricey for a mongolian barbecue lunch.

Urban Grill Order Form

Urban Grill Mongolian Barbecue by weight

Shortly after, my stir-fry was ready. So I took it to a table next to the window and started a short photo session. Although the dish didn’t look very appetizing, it tasted pretty good. The spicy korean beef were fresh and nicely marinated. And perhaps because I wasn’t the one who added the sauces to the dish, it did taste better than usual. I totally suck at seasoning my own Mongolian barbecue.

When I finished with the meal, I realized I have a dilemma. Is Urban Grill a Deal or No Deal? On one hand, the meat is fresher and the spicy korean beef is a rare find at other local Mongolian barbecue. On the other hand, it’s somewhat pricier than others. However, if you’re well-planned, you may be able to get a spicy bulgogi with extra rice for 5 dollars or so. Let me know how you feel about it. Please vote below:

Urban Grill Mongolian Barbecue: ©©©1/4

Urban Grill is located at 562 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC (T) 604.806.6218

BUDGET BREAKDOWN:

Remaining Budget: $77.78

Budget Spent: -$7.70 ($8.62 included HST)

Budget Available: $70.08

©2010 Tana Kosiyabong and CheapAppetite.com™. All rights reserved.

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12 thoughts on “Urban Grill. Is it a Deal or No Deal?

  1. i much prefer the mongolian grill on davie near bute. i usually pack down the meat and mound up the veggies which creates enough delicious food to stuff me for 2+ meals, for around the same price.

    if you think of it as paying a premium for fresh, seasoned meat though, this place sounds yummy.

    1. I’ve been to that mongolian grill on davie several times. It’s definitely cheaper than Urban Grill. And I have been perfecting my piling up technique over the year. So i got quite a bit more out of the money. I usually just go for the lunch special one. I think you’re right. You pay more for the fresh and seasoned meat.

    1. Yeah at least it taste better than when I seasoned them myself. I rarely add the right amount of sauces in my mongolian barbecue. They normally turn out either too salty or too bland. Let the cook seasoned it is better. I just pick the kind of sauce I want 🙂

  2. $2.25/100 grams with a minimum of $4.50 (200 grams) plus HST), then working out to your $7.70 ($8.62 included HST) for the meal (w/o drink) doesn’t quite sound like a bargain for me. However the trade-off is you know the ingredients that went in, and you choose your own sauce(s) for flavouring, so you gained a bit of control there.

    Maybe it’s simply a matter of what you consider a deal and what goes into it.

    For me though, a $4.50 lunch (two items + rice or noodles) at Kent’s Kitchen is tough to beat, if you can put up with the hole-in-wall ambiance 😉 Just to think, all that grease for no extra charge …….

    1. Lol. LotusRapper, it would be tough to find any lunch that beats Kent’s Kitchen. I like them, but I try to cut them down to a couple of times a month. Those grease aren’t good for my old body. lol. If I were younger, I’d definitely visit Kent’s more often. I wonder if kent’s lunch or McD’s extra value meal has more fat content? 🙂 I think I’m going to visit Urban Grill again. This time I’ll only get the spicy korean beef and a bit of onion. I’ll try to get a spicy bulgogi lunch for about five bucks. It may take a couple of times to perfect the technique though. 🙂

  3. Bring your own portable food scale 😉

    A friend told me that places which offer AYCE by weight purposely cut their ingredients into bigger pieces, or sometimes “pre-soak” them in water to make them heavier. I can see the pieces being bigger (at those food court vendors where they have fresh fruit or salad bars), but I’m not so sure about the pre-soaking part. Urban myth ?

    Have fun !

    1. Yeah, digital scale would be perfect for this. I agree with your friend. Like i said in the post, they offer fresh & thicker sliced meats for a reason. And the typical mongolian bbq use thinner, rolled up, frozen meats because they took up more space in a bowl with minimal amount of meat. Definitely save them money especially for the patrons that who go with the one bowl deal. Food businesses are really tricky 🙂

  4. I think it’s quit expensive knowing you could get much more food from a “lunchbox combo” @ Kent’s Kitched (SUPER cheap) or even T&T.

    1. Hey Gloria,
      Thanks for visiting Cheap Appetite. Sounded like you’re another Kent’s kitchen fan like LotusRapper 🙂 Me too. Just can’t eat it too often. Yup it’s definitely hard to beat kent’s.
      Tana

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