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Wide White: bd's Mongolian Grill - Burnsville, MN

Monday, November 08, 2010

bd's Mongolian Grill - Burnsville, MN

DISCLAIMER: I was given a coupon for 2 unlimited bowls, 2 non-alcoholic drinks, 1 appetizer, and 1 dessert in exchange for posting a review of bd's Mongolian Grill in Burnsville. Our total bill was approximately $46.

And while this is my first restaurant review on this blog, I've done a fair amount of mystery shopping in various industries, including the restaurant industry, so while it's never been a subject on my blog it's not foreign to me by any stretch.

Price: Reasonable - $15/entree, $7/app, $4/drink, $7/dessert
Atmosphere: Bright and busy
Service: Friendly
Speed: Slow on appetizers and drinks, fast on the food line
Taste: Very good
Number of visits: 2
Last visit: 11/6/10
Would I go back? Yes

Other reviews: Lazy Lightning, Urban Spoon, Yelp, Twin Cities Restaurant Blog, Cafe Cyan

bd's Mongolian Grill
1025 County Road 42 West
Burnsville MN 55306
(952) 435-0032

bd's Mongolian Grill has been open at the old Macaroni Grill location at Burnsville Center for a little over a year now. We first visited it back in February. Our kids were just a couple of weeks old and we were with 2 of my brothers and their wives. I enjoyed it but had wanted to get back without a huge group.

Jamie called to make a reservation for 6:15 Saturday. We hadn't made a reservation on our first visit and wound up waiting for ~30 minutes. With 8-month-old twins we knew our window to be out of the house wasn't more than a couple of hours.

We were a couple of minutes late and a line was starting to form. Our table was ready and waiting with two high chairs already setup for the kids. We were really glad to have a table for 6 since you need 2 table settings per kid - one for the kid and one for all of the kid's crap.

bd's has a pretty straightforward formula. They have a happy hour that runs from 3-7 every day, which is pretty generous compared to most of what I tend to see. During happy hour, their appetizers are $3, with regular prices running from around $5 to $7, and draft beer is $2. They also had a banner advertising wings for $.40 each on Mondays. Judging from the wings advertisement and the TVs broadcasting a college football game, they seem to be trying to siphon part of the BW3 type of crowd.

In any event, you don't go to bd's for their appetizers or wings. You go for the Mongolian grill. A vegetarian bowl is $10.99, a meat bowl is $12.99, and an unlimited bowl is $14.99. Lunch prices run around $2-3 cheaper. You can check out their menu [PDF].

They have a number of recipe cards that can be used to find the right mix of meats, vegetables, sauces, spices, etc. I'm one to just throw what I like together though. Ingredients that I remember included ribeye, shrimp, chicken, scallops, crab, bean sprouts, teriyaki sauce, pineapple, apples, and more.

After filling up a bowl at the buffet line I went to the grill. The grillers do a great job of trying to keep the mood light. I guess I don't walk around beaming, because one of them jabbed me sarcastically about "how happy you are." The guy grilling my food kept flipping his tongs in the air, which served its purpose in leading me to forget that I was waiting for my food to cook as I instead wondered how long it took him to get to where he could confidently flip them on the job and whether he'd ever had an accident with them and how he managed to miss the vents and lights over head and...

Before I knew it my food was done and I headed back to the table to eat it with the kids while Jamie went to get her food. The food was really well-cooked, so how well you like it ultimately comes down to what combination you happen to put together. My wife worked in food service for a number of years in high school and college and tends to shy away from buffets due to the awful food preparation and cleanliness but she didn't have any problems here.

We had ordered the potstickers for an appetizer when our server arrived at our table, which was 5 minutes after we sat down and a little slower than I would expect. Our drinks came back right away - I had a root beer and Jamie had a virgin strawberry daiquiri - but the appetizer didn't arrive until 25 minutes after we ordered them. In that time, our server had been back to our table twice with a refill and tortillas with no mention of the status of the appetizers. We were already eating the main dish by the time the potstickers came out. Now, the potstickers - pork-filled with ginger and soy sauces - were excellent and were hot. However, in my opinion there's just no excuse for appetizers taking 25 minutes to arrive.

Jamie sampled their salad bar, but I was content with my bowl of meat. I was really happy they had apples, as I don't recall seeing that at a Mongolian grill before and thought they were a great addition.

We did order a dessert, going with a brownie with ice cream, whipped cream, caramel and chocolate. We shared it and were unable to finish it, not so much because of the size but because it was so rich. We agreed that we probably wouldn't order it again. Our server had recommended it and said he just had a table that had eaten the whole thing. In hindsight, I think it would take a whole table to distribute the brownie without giving everyone a sugar high.

By the time we left around 7:30 the line was out the door. You'll definitely want to make a reservation if you're going to arrive after 6:00-6:30 on a weekend.

We'll be back. I'm a big Mongolian fan and Khan's in Roseville is the benchmark I use since it's where I first had Mongolian. Jamie said she likes Khan's better and I like bd's better, so take that for what it's worth. I think bd's has a better variety and if my memory is correct - I haven't been to Khan's in a few years - the prices aren't that different.

While they do a great job with the main event, they could do a better job of handling appetizers. I'm guessing a lot of people skip them since there's plenty of food in the buffet line already, but still, if you're going to offer an appetizer, you should be able to deliver it within 10 minutes. I was also surprised that our server didn't suggest appetizers at the beginning or dessert at the end. I personally like the fact that he didn't try to push them since I normally don't order either, but I know most restaurants are big on their servers pushing that stuff.

Our server also apologized towards the end for any bumps in service and explained that all of his tables were on the other side of the restaurant except ours. This is obviously an oversight that seems pretty simple to correct. Again, bd's doesn't rely on servers to the same extent that most restaurants do since there's a fair amount of self-service, but it still resulted in a few delays that probably wouldn't have otherwise happened.

I also have a $5 coupon to offer to my readers. It expires on 11/15 so you'd have to be able to go this week. Leave a comment or send an email to widewhiteblog - at - gmail - dot - com if you want it.

Have you been to bd's? What did you think? Would you go back?

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Anonymous Anonymous declared,

We love BDs, however I would have to agree with Jamie that I like Khan's better. BDs has more options, however I feel that Khan's is much more authentic. Khan's also has these little dough things with sugar in the middle that could be called "Better than sex little dough things with sugar in the middle". Overall I love BDs and have been there 4 or 5 times, including trips with visitors that are here for the weekend. Bottom line, its a good place, but could use some work on being more authentic, I don't think Buffalo Sauce classifies as authentic Mongolian, however it does taste good.


11/08/2010 10:34 AM  
Blogger Joey declared,

I love those things! Oh, we were talking about this last night with some friends, all of whom had been to Khan's, and we also agreed that Khan's is a little dirtier. It's not so bad I wouldn't go there and I don't think I've ever been grossed out, but I was pretty impressed with how clean everything was at bd's. Items in the buffet were actually separated and not spilling over into other trays.

11/08/2010 10:59 AM  

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