Last night, the wife and I visited the new Genghis Grill at Arrowhead Towne Center. In the mold of Fire & Ice and other Mongolian BBQ, at Genghis Grill you select your meat, vegetables and sauce and everything’s cooked on a large, round flat-top grill.
Genghis Grill’s opening gives the area two Mongolian BBQ restaurants within a couple of miles of each other; Stir Fry Paradise, a family-owned restaurant, has been in the Fry’s Marketplace shopping center on the southeast corner of 67th Avenue and Bell for years.
How do they compare? Let’s take a look …
- Meats – Stir Fry Paradise has beef, chicken, turkey and pork plus shrimp or tofu can be added for an additional cost. Genghis Grill has the above as well as shrimp (as part of the normal selection), calamari, scallops and a delicious marinated beef. There also is cubed ham, pepperoni, sliced Polish sausage and imitation crab – for me, these are more of a negative than a plus. Cubed ham or pepperoni? In what’s essentially a stir-fry dish?
- Vegetables – At Genghis Grill, it took some work to find the bell peppers and the mushrooms were nothing to write home about. Essentially standard fare – carrots, bok choi, celery, jalapenos, dried red chiles, onions, bean sprouts, green beans, pineapple, etc. Selection’s a little thinner at Stir Fry Paradise – mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, napa cabbage, pineapple, onions, green bell peppers, broccoli and water chestnuts – but the vegetables are far more appetizing here than at Genghis Grill. Think of the difference between the produce section at Sprouts or AJ’s and Costco.
- Sauces – wider selection at Genghis Grill, but the flavors are overpowering. My soy sauce intake dropped after I started reducing sodium a year ago so I’m a little sensitive to it but the teriyaki sauce my wife chose was drowning in soy sauce. I mixed chile sauce with some ginger orange and again, while delicious, the taste is saturating to the expense of the food itself. Stir Fry Paradise has House, teriyaki, ginger, garlic, sweet and sour, hoisin, cooking wine and sesame oil. Much more basic but you actually taste the food, not just the sauce.
- Sides – Genghis Grill gives you a choice of udoh noodles or brown, white or fried rice. Stir Fry Paradise gives you white rice, three kinds of cookable noodles, fried rice plus crunchy chow main noodles. Also, Stir Fry Paradise has a handful of the typical Chinese buffet fare – cream cheese wontons, eggrolls, honey chicken and the like.
- Portion size – Genghis Grill gives you a small metal bowl, which you can either load with protein or with vegetables but generally at the expense of one for the other. Stir Fry Paradise is all you can eat which means, even if you’re watching what you’re eating, you can load a full bowl of vegetables (zero Weight Watchers points!) and still get a normal serving of whatever meat you choose.
- Price – Stir Fry Paradise is slightly less expensive.
- Alcohol – some bottled beers and wine are available at Stir Fry Paradise while Genghis Grill has a full bar.
- Service/cooking time – The longest I’ve ever waited for my food to cook at Stir Fry Paradise has been a handful of minutes. Last night at Genghis Grill, we were waiting for 20-plus minutes for what should have been an easy order to cook.
So after all that, what’s the verdict from here? I’m slightly biased in that I’ve gotten to know the owners of Stir Fry Paradise. Having said that, based on what I saw last night … if I’m in the mood for a lot of seafood, I’m going to Genghis Grill. Outside of that, I can’t see any reason to abandon Stir Fry Paradise.
And if I’m going to recommend one or the other, I have to say to support the local owner and stop by Stir Fry Paradise for that Mongolian BBQ meal.