Sudbury has all sorts of restaurants, but nothing quite like this. Hungry hordes are flocking to the city’s newest dining sensation, Sizzle Mongolian Grill.
What sets the place apart on the local food scene is the cooking surface — a large, cast-iron grill that sits in the dining room for all to see. The $30,000 piece of equipment, fittingly called a Mongolian grill, is the main component of a very interactive dining experience.
Part buffet, part open kitchen, the process to get from raw food to ready-to-eat dish is unfamiliar to most people and requires a little explaining.
Thankfully, helpful servers are on hand to help, which is good because the menu lists nothing but drinks, desserts and Sizzle’s signature soup — a fresh-tasting broth of coconut milk, lemon grass, chicken and rice, similar to Thai soups I’ve had tried before.
When the time came for the entree, you’re given a bowl and directed to a buffet of raw meats, seafood, vegetables and noodles.
Bowls filled, the two chefs presiding over the grill awaited. They placed each bowl on an electronic scale as the price of the meal is based on the weight of the food in the bowl (bowls of cooked rice were brought to the table by the server).
The sauces — vegetarian as well as mostly gluten and lactose-free — made the meal. The assortment was wide, but included Szechuan, ginger, honey garlic and kung pao.
Sizzle Mongolian Grill is the brainchild of Jay Polano, who said the novelty of the restaurant has people talking, suggesting the variety of foods offered might convince kids to try something they wouldn’t eat at home.
I may put his theory about that to the test. I have my very own picky eight-year-old, who would probably be fascinated with the big grill.
I’m sure it won’t be too long before I return to Sizzle Mongolian Grill.
Location: Sizzle Mongolian Grill is located at 1145 Lorne St. in the Sudbury Inn (the old Cassio’s).
Atmosphere: The decor is modern with a stone wall and built-in fireplace, and the atmosphere is bistro casual.
Cost: Meal averaged $14 for dishes that included meat. Vegetarians eat more cheaply.
A former chef, Al McMullan is a graphic designer with Laurentian Publishing.