By Tana Kosiyabong
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.
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 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.
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
Remaining Budget: $77.78
Budget Spent: -$7.70 ($8.62 included HST)
Budget Available: $70.08
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