genghis grill / mira mesa
Genghis Grill opened in Mira Mesa earlier this year. I went awhile ago with my co-workers but I wasn’t super impressed with my initial visit. Recently Laura came over so we could continue watching Downton Abbey (we’re still behind!) and grab some dinner. I suggested Genghis Grill again just to see if they had changed or there were any improvements from my last visit. Let’s see how it went!
We went for dinner on a Sunday evening. The restaurant was fairly empty. A server showed us to a table and had us sit down and gave us menus to review and he went over the whole process, explaining we could choose something from the menu or go and make our own bowl.
We both decided on making our own bowls and he gave us a little card and put our names on the cards. We would later hand this to the guy over at the cooking station. This is different from the lunch process (unless they changed it) where you just go get in line and then pay at the cooking station.
At the front of the line (which is on the left), a lady asks what size bowl you want and then fills your bowl with your desired meats. They have a variety of chicken, pork, steak (some marinated, some not), scallops, squid, fish, ham, pepperoni, etc.
We both got small bowls and the lady filled them to the edge. The small bowl looks super tiny, but really, it’s a lot of meat!
She gives you your bowl and then you start filling it up! The first station is a seasoning station with various spices to flavor up your bowl. I picked sea salt, pepper, ginger and garlic. If you’re unsure of which spices to add in, there are a bunch of “suggested recipes” for different flavor pairings available. You can find these “suggested recipes” before you get in line. I winged it because I didn’t recipe help! Well, actually, it was because I didn’t notice the recipe suggestions until later but I was still pretty sure I could pair up my seasonings and sauces.
Above you can see the veggie area. There’s lots to choose from to customize your bowl, the tricky part is filling up your bowl so the stuff doesn’t all just fall out. It’s like playing Jenga with your food.
Here’s my bowl before I handed it off. The lady behind the counter showed me this “trick” of sticking the pea pods around the edge to create a little wall to hold in more veggies. BRILLIANT!
Some things I put in mine were lots of onions (I love onions), carrots, mushrooms, green onions (did I mention I love onions), spinach, the magical pea pods, and zucchini.
Next is the saucy area. There’s a container full of tiny spoons so you can taste the sauces before you slather it all over your food. You get a little metal cup and you can mix and match sauces if you’re feeling adventurous (I was).
I started my sauce off with garlic water then added in a lot of Ginger Citrus (I loved the ginger in that one) along with a touch of “3G” (tangy, sweet, Asian flavored sauce), a dash of Honey Soy and a dash of Island Teriyaki. I was really going for the “Asian” influence here.
You hand your food off and then select your starches. You can pick more than one!
This is Laura’s mixture. She got a combo of noodles and brown rice (all the rice was on the bottom). She didn’t get to do really do the pea pod thing like I did because I stole most of the pea pods (they didn’t have any more, what a terrible friend I am) but she managed to get a lot of stuff into her little bowl! She was concerned the small was “too small” at first but after we got the cooked bowls was glad she didn’t get the larger one. It was a lot of food (if you manage to fill up the whole thing).
Here is mine in all it’s noodly glory! On my first visit I felt pretty jipped by my bowl because I did not fill it up nearly enough and left feeling hungry. But this time I really tried to pack in the veggies and was much more satisfied with my bowl. My favorite of the meats was the steak which was nice and flavorful. The pork I would not get again, it didn’t come out too well and the chicken was just kind of blah. The scallops were “okay” – they are those tiny little bay scallops that don’t really taste like much. I was glad I put a lot more onions in, I felt that gave it a lot more flavor and I was happy with my sauce/seasonings choice. I actually ran out of noodles and had a bunch of leftover meat in my bowl which I saved and later gave to Maya at home.
The small make your own bowls are $8.99 (doesn’t matter if it’s lunch or dinner) which is a pretty good deal if you can really work a lot of veggies into your bowl for more food. I felt it was plenty of food and that anything larger would be overkill and left uneaten in my bowl. The key is to really try and fill it up and flavor your bowl well.
I’d come back again to try creating my own rice bowl or something, but it’s not really a place I’d go out of my way for. If it wasn’t in my neighborhood, I’d honestly probably not visit again.
8280 Mira Mesa Blvd. (next to Vons)
San Diego, CA 92126