Ok, I admit it. We're a little late to this one. Genghis Grill has been open in the shopping center anchored by Gold's Gym and Academy Sports and Outdoors for a while now, but I just got around to trying the new Waco location. My wife and I decided to take our 3 kids there for lunch today, which worked out because my son needed a new fishing pole from Academy.
Headquartered in Dallas, the Genghis Grill concept brings Mongolian stir fry flavor to the popular build-your-own style of restaurant (see Subway, Freebirds, Chipotle, etc.). Instead of getting a sandwich or a burrito, you fill a bowl with ingredients that they then stir fry on a huge circular Mongolian-style grill.
When you walk in, the first thing you do is order for your kids ($6 per kids meal, which includes a drink) and order appetizers, and then you choose which size bowl you want (small $8.99, regular $9.99, and large $12.99). Next, you go through the line and select your proteins, spices, veggies, and sauce before taking our ingredients to the grill master to grill up your meal, and you take your seat at your table and wait for a server to bring out your food.
Let me start with what I liked. I thought the food was really good. I got shrimp with lemon pepper, some assorted veggies, a couple of fried eggs, and their island teriyaki sauce on fried rice. I'm not a chef, so I wasn't really sure which spice to get, but I was happy with the outcome. Overall, the food was enjoyable.
Now with what I didn't like. For starters, the price was way too high for what we got. I think the kids meal price is what pushed it over the top. It cost $43 to feed my family of 5, which frankly is way too much for a regular lunch. My youngest is 4, and she wanted the mac & cheese while my other 2 kids got the future warrior bowl (basically just a small build-your-own bowl). The $6 mac & cheese was served in a small bowl, and it wasn't very good. My daughter wouldn't eat all of it, so I tasted it and could see why. The other 2 enjoyed their future warrior bowls, which were arguably worth the $6 each because they were the same size as the small bowl for adults.
Also, while the build-your-own concept is cool, as a non-chef I was pretty unsure of which spices and other ingredients to choose for my bowl. For something like a stir-fry, I think I'd rather just order something off the menu rather than choose my own ingredients. Some people might like and even prefer the build-your-own approach, but I do not.
Overall, I thought Genghis Grill was pretty good. Not great, not bad, but pretty good. Would I go back? Yes, probably, but we'll have to get creative with how we feed our kids (no mac & cheese next time), and we might just share a large bowl between the 2 of us. Would I recommend it? Yes, probably, but with the caveat that it is quite expensive for what it is.
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