Review: BD’s Mongolian Grill

Walking into a restaurant for the first time is like going on a blind date. You see the person from a distance at first (probably) and make a snap judgment on how outwardly attractive they are. You meet them face-to-face and that judgment may or may not hold water, despite a charming and great personality.

In all likelihood, you’ve become a victim of the Hot From Far Away effect.  This Effect is true when you see BD’s Mongolian Grill in Burnsville.

Pulling up to the eatery off of Country Road 42, neighboring the Burnsville Center, you see a fancy place to fill your tummy. The exterior looks great, despite feeling like a box tossed into a parking lot. The atmosphere you expect before you walk through the doors is not quite what you’d expect. The host podium is about 25 feet into the restaurant, rather than it being right inside the door, giving the waiting area an enormous feeling.

After making the awkward approach to the host/hostess, my wife and I were luckily seated on the side at a booth. If it were up to me, all seating everywhere would be booth seating. If a booth is available at BD’s, ask for it. The rest of the restaurant felt like a cafeteria. The lighting is about the same as a cafeteria, about the same uninviting feeling, the same uncomfortable nature at a glance and the same murmur. Again, luckily, we got a booth and were very comfortable.

This is only the scene at BD’s. I’m a HUGE stickler for ambiance and feeling while I eat. The cafeteria feeling is the only negative thing I have to say for BD’s.

The Staff

The entire customer experience is obviously a gargantuan factor and conscience effort for the BD’s staff. The staff ensures a pleasant and knowledgeable experience for the customer all the way from the second you walk in, to sitting down, ordering, picking your food and sauce, cooking the food, and random check-ins.

Everyone smiles the whole time and the whole place is beaming with personality.

If you’ve never been to BD’s, your server will explain the process to you. My wife and I each shared an appetizer and each got an unlimited bowl, skipping the nice-looking salad bar.

For the appy, we ordered pot-stickers. While they were good, they were nothing special. We ate nearly the whole plate before remembering to take a picture… so… here are the remnants.

Our waiter, Jeff, was a really nice guy and swung by to check in enough to make us happy, but not so much to be annoying. We made nice casual conversation without there ever being an awkward moment and he answered all of the questions we had. When we go out, we usually ask for a suggestion or their opinion on certain items… we’ve developed a knack for telling if our server is lying to us or being honest… Jeff was honest and he clearly likes BD’s and its food.

When we walked bowl-on-hand over to the sauce bar there was a friendly guy waiting to give us advice about what sauce/s to use. He asked what flavors we tend to like, spicy or sweet, etc, and gave us suggestions. He let me try one I was skeptical about with one of those little ice cream sampling spoons and threw it away for me so I didn’t have to worry about.

Having someone to help guests figure out the sauce bar is a fantastic idea. Why let the guests choose for themselves and potentially ruin the whole experience when you can place a person there to give expert advice? Genius! The sauce guy even came over to see if we liked the sauce combos we ended up choosing, which was another nice gesture from the staff.

After finalizing the food and sauce choice, you go to the cooks.

It was a slow night, so it wasn’t very exciting. Since first visiting BD’s, I’ve gone back to experience a busy night — they’re way more exciting. The cooks sing and hit gongs and shout stuff and interact with us. While a crowd stresses me out, it was worth it to chat with the cooks and get the full experience.

The staff is great at BD’s Mongolian Grill and make the whole customer experience remarkable.

The Food…

ROCKS! I love, Love, LOve, LOVe, LOVE the food! How delicious the food is is entirely up to you though. I could have made something unfulfilling, added too much meat, added too much of something or I could have ignored the sauce guy’s advice. There are plenty of variables to make the food blow your mind or ruin your night. Of course, I made something delicious. After a visit and long rant about how good the food is, a friend of mine told me that they even have gluten-free options. So if you’re looking for really good gluten-free restaurants in the South Metro area, try it – you can make a really good vegetarian bowl too.

Check out their website to create your own bowl. I really like this idea because if you’re looking into going there and not sure about the food (like me), you can check everything out ahead of time. While the website is actually a bit limiting in terms of portions and amount of ingredients to add, it gives you a great preview.

Again, we got swept away with our food and forgot to take pictures until we were basically done.

Here is the appropriately-labeled bowl I made:

The KNOX-esque
  • 3 oz Chicken
  • 3 oz NY / KC Strip
  • 1 oz Bean Sprouts
  • 1 oz Broccoli
  • 1 tsp Cilantro
  • 1 oz Mushrooms
  • 2 x 1 oz Spicy Buffalo Sauce
  • 1 oz Chili Garlic Sauce
  • 1 oz Sweet n Sour
  • An extra pinch of garlic
  • .5 tsp. Oil Blend (added at the Grill)
  • 3/4 cup Rice (optional – choice of brown or white)
  • 3 oz. Rice Noodles

This is my bowl, except I put WAY more meat on it. Lamb, shrimp, rib-eye, pork, etc. I also had pea pods and other stuff, but that’s the gist of it. If you go soon, they might still have their Octoberfest Beer Soaked Pork. IF they still have it, GET IT. This was my favorite portion of meat in the entire thing. Seriously, it’s delicious. Now that it’s November, you might be S.O.L. If that’s that case – sorry.

Get my point yet? The food is really good. I’ve heard people say it’s not as good as Khan’s, but I’ve never been there and won’t give it a chance because I’m smitten with BD’s. Plus, BD’s is closer to my house… why make the trip?

Aside from the uncomfortable environment, which I can get over with time and food, I give BD’s full marks. So let’s say 4.5 stars out of 5. I’m really excited to go back and enjoy more awesome food. You should check it out too when you have the chance.

I had a coupon to share with all of you, but it’s now expired because I wanted to go back to experience a busy night before I wrote the review. Sorry. You should still go.

Me and my product placement.

{The small print disclaimer: The restaurant and its PR agency discussed on this column provided a free dinner to review on this blog. While free stuff will guarantees a sampling, it doesn’t promise giddy, happy props from me. Thanks to BD’s Mongolian Grill in Burnsville for providing a nice date night for my wife and I. 🙂 }


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