Whether you’re in the mood for a healthy meal or just have picky eaters to please, Bridgeview Asian Grill will fit the bowl.
Indeed, the bowl is where it all begins at this new Mongolian barbecue restaurant in San Luis Obispo’s historic railroad district.
Fired up by Susan Ley and Guy Moerman, the concept was inspired by a meal at a similar type of spot out of town, “and we thought how fun it would be to bring something like it here,” said Ley. After finding one of the big Mongolian grills on eBay, everything fell into place for Bridge-view’s opening on May 17.
Upon entering, you’ll be guided toward a stack of bowls at the end of a salad bar-style of buffet that’s full of freshly chopped vegetables, sliced meats, par cooked noodles, spices and sauces.
Ley noted that the lineup is “still evolving” as they fine tune availability, customer requests and pricing, “but that’s the great thing about this type of food — we can easily add and subtract almost any ingredients we want.” (Recent menu additions also include a salad, freshly made soups of the day, pork/duck potstickers, veggie spring rolls, Wild Wings, and a Grill Steak made with chopped grilled beef that’s akin to a Philly cheesesteak.)
With Mongolian barbecue, you’re in charge of selecting all the raw ingredients that go into your bowl, so those with finicky palates can choose whatever they want.
Though offerings may vary slightly from day-to-day, expect to find such vegetables as carrots, onions, bamboo shoots, baby corn and peppers, plus other accents like mushrooms and chunks of juicy pineapple.
For the meats — “which are all cut in house by hand” — look for sirloin tip, pork cushion and boneless chicken breast at lunchtime; lamb is often added to the mix at dinnertime.
One thing you won’t find anywhere at Bridgeview “is peanut anything.”
Ley and the staff are very aware of food allergies, so even gluten-free noodles and a gluten-free craft-bottled beer are available as well. Extremely sensitive individuals should note that it’s not an entirely gluten-free zone, but the staff will accommodate everyone as best they can.
When assembling your Mongolian barbecue bowl, start with your veggies, etc., at the bottom. Putting the meat on last is a good idea because it’s easier for the grillers to get it cooking first and toward the hotter part of the cooking surface.
After you’ve got your bowlful of raw goodies, sprinkle on your choice of spices such as chopped garlic and dried cilantro, then drizzle on any combination of more than eight sauces such as lemon teriyaki, Kung Pao, sweet ginger, spicy orange, or gluten-free sweet-and-sour or coconut curry. Make up your own combo, or try one of the suggested “recipes” posted above the sauces.
From there, give your bowl to the griller with your name and any specific cooking instructions, and then find a table. You can choose a seat outside in the garden area, inside in the Mural Room, or in the Grill Room where you can watch all the cooking action.
When your order is ready, it’s served onto a fresh plate and brought to you along with a bowl of either brown or white rice.
“It only takes a few minutes to grill,” said Ley, and no wonder given that the surface of the big Mongolian grill is upwards of 500 degrees F. “It’s kind of like a flat wok, so it flash steams the veggies and slightly sears and browns the meats. It’s very fresh, flavorful, healthy food.”