Jason Epp prepares his plate at the new Mongolian Grill inside the Grand Buffet in Liberal. Diners can choose uncooked items of their choice before taking them to the grill where they are cooked while the diner watches. It takes about three minutes for the food to be prepared. Daily Leader photo/Earl Watt
By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
In larger communities like Wichita and Kansas City, a new trend in dining has started to dot the busy retail districts.
That new style has now come to Liberal.
They are called Mongolian grills, and they give diners complete control over their meal before their food is cooked.
Diners go through a buffet-style line and choose the items they woud like to eat, starting with a choice of pork, beef, chicken or shrimp. The diner can then add fresh vegetables, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and more to complete their meal. Finally, the diner can top off the meal with a choice of sauces ranging from soy sauce to white wine sauce.
For those who like extra onions or less broccoli, the choices are completely up to the diner.
Once the diner’s choices have been made, the plate is taken to the grill where a chef cooks the meal. Total cook time takes about three minutes.
The addition of the Mongolian Grill makes the Grand Buffet different than the Taste of China. Both restaurants are owned by Danny and Benny Yu.
Not only is the Mongolian Grill a way to make the restaurants different, but Benny said that many of the items on the buffet are different as well.
But the Mongolian Grill is a completely different dining experience, and chef Johnny Merkan said it has been well-received by the customers.
“They always come back for a second plate,” he said. “They must like it.”
Merkan came to Liberal from Houston where he worked in the Chinese food industry.
Originally, the Mongolian Grill was only going to offer service in the evenings, but due to its popularity, it is now available all day, seven days per week.
“We looked at other restaurants with Mongolian grills in California and New Mexico,” Benny said. “That is how we do it. We learned how to make the sauces. Our Mongolian sauce is from California.”
A chart will be available soon to help diners mix the sauces to create unique flavors.
The cost of the Mongolian grill is the same as the buffet, $5.99 for lunch, $7.99 for supper.