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HuHot Mongolian Grill (COS)
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 Posted: Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 05:52 pm
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Vargr
Vargr


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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado USA
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HuHot Mongolian Grill
5843 Constitution Ave.
Colorado Springs, CO
(719) 574-6647
(http://www.huhot.com)

Many of us are familiar with dining at a Mongolian Grill: Make your way down a buffet selection of various meats, followed by veggies and noodles. Then pick and choose from a variety of sauces to pour over your bowl of ingredients to give the result your personal taste. Finally, hand your bowl to a friendly “grill master” who will quick-fry your concoction on a huge round flatiron grill and hand you back the plated results for your consumption.

Most of these places follow the same design, and what generally sets them apart are the freshness and variety of the ingredients, the choice of sauces, the skills of the “grill master(s)”, and the friendliness and attentiveness of the staff.  Prices tend to average around 12-15 for lunch, and generally a few more for supper or weekend.

HuHot follows the same general concept of all of them. If that’s all they did, their item selection, sauces, freshness of their ingredients, skills, price, and staff would put them near the top of the heap.  Their “normal” line starts with the “big three” meats; pork, chicken, and beef. All frozen (for ease of slicing paper thin), but fresh and good. To that, they add sausage (both hot and spicy, and savory types), mixed seafood (mini-octopus, white fish, clams, etc), tilapia, tofu, Krab (fake crab meat), and small meatballs. 

Their veggie selections to add to those would rival that of a buffet salad bar. They refresh them frequently, and keep the area clean and tidy when folks “dribble” veggies about while loading up their bowls. The “usual” Asian items are there, such as bean sprouts, water chestnuts, boc choy, as well as the ‘basics’ of onions, cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, celery and the like. They also feature several types of beans (red, black, garbonzo), pineapple, “baby” corn, bamboo shoots, and more. 

Noodles not only include the typical 'lo mein' (like spagetti, but thicker and more tender), but also a wider "pad thai" (similar to fettucini), and a nearly transparent 'rice stick' "glass" noodle.

Weekend and “supper” times bring out even more items, slightly more expensive, such as scallops, shrimp, and lamb.

They more than double the “normal” half-dozen sauces such as soy, chili oil, sesame oil, sweet, garlic, “savory” and ginger, with the additions of items like sherry, teriyaki, Hoisin, sweet chili (Ma Ploy), and many others. One is certain to find a combination to fit any taste.

Yes, if HuHot were to stop there, they’d still be one of the better Mongolian Grills, especially with their attentive, friendly staff happy to explain and lead you through the process, and frequently visiting your table to ensure drinks stay topped off and diners are happy.

But HuHot breaks away from “typical” with several creative additions.  First, they offer a nice selection of appetizers and desserts, as well as non-buffet selections and a couple kid’s plates (who they call “little warriors”). 

Desserts include cheese cake, a special “Kahn’s Kake” (chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate), and “Molten Muffins” (hot fudge “volcano” cakes). One of their special desserts is high on the list of Must Try for this wuff – a “do it yourself” S’Mores Kit which arrives at your table with a flaming iron pot to roast your own marshmallows over, along with the obligatory graham crackers, chocolate, and some assorted “fixin’s” to add variety.  Only reason I haven’t tucked into one of those yet, is they’re geared for a party of 2 or more, and I’ve been a single each time I’ve visited.

Appetizers include the many of the normal Chinese offerings, such as Rangoons, Eggrolls, Potstickers, and other selected specialties that rotate seasonally. Their current item is “Dynamite Shrimp”, large shrimp wrapped in a crisp wonton shell with hot and spicy flavors, and a sweet soy, honey, ginger sauce to dip them in to “cool them off”. Soups and Salads are also available to accompany your buffet grill.

Servers offer an “ever-full” rice bowl with either steamed white or brown rice with every meal.

If HuHot stopped there, they’d already be a winner. But they don’t.  First, in addition to nearly a dozen individually flavored sauces, HuHot offers nearly the same number of their pre-blended sauces. With names like Samurai Teriyaki, Yellow Belly Curry, Burn Your Village BBQ, and Kung Pow –YOW!, they range from mild to head-smokin’ hot.  Of course, you can mix those as well, or alter them with dippers of the individual sauces. But you can stick with any one of these and have a good, consistent result you can re-visit time after time without trying to remember if you used 3 dippers of sauce 1, or only 2. They also offer a “sauce of the season” which rotates through a wide number of selections. Last visit, it was Asian Coconut – sweet coconut milk with a hearty selection of rich Caribbean spices.

Still not done with the innovations, HuHot adds one last item to ease your journey through the buffet line; recipe cards! Over a dozen slots on a board at the start of the line, filled with little 3X4 cards that have menu suggestions such as “Curried Chicken” or “Meatball Madness”.  If you find all these sauces and selections overwhelming, or are just looking for ideas on what to bundle together for a new taste experience, draw one of those cards and make your way thru the line.  They not only tell what sauces to mix and match, but what meats and what veggies to pile aboard before you reach the sauce counter. 

Their sauce blends and “recipe cards” are the final touch to elevate HuHot above the standard of other Mongolian Grills.  Visits there (wuff has been 3 times) have been invariably pleasant and satisfying. The Décor at Vargr’s Powers Ave location is a weird and whimsical mix of hand-painted, colorful murals of impressionistic Mongolian mythic creatures and scenes, and ultra-modern industrial style fixtures. It sets a happy, “party-ish” atmosphere, as does the subtle “pop” music running in the background.  They also offer “meeting rooms” for groups.

Prices are in line with other similar establishments Vargr has visited.  $8.50, for weekday lunch, $10 for the more expensive weekend meal with added selections on the line, $13 for supper (which includes a complementary soup or salad and more line items), $2 for most drinks (soda or sweet green tea, or others).  Appetizers and desserts range from $4 to $8 each.  For the frugal, it’s very easy to get out of there under $15, but you can easily reach $22-25 a piece if you go for both an appetizer, dessert, and add an alcoholic beverage.

If you happen to get out to the Colorado Springs area, and enjoy freshly prepared stir-fry to your own specific designs, you can do worse than a stop in here for lunch or supper.  Be advised though, it’s not TOO far from the nearby Peterson AFB, and a lot of business offices in the area. This means you need to be prepared to wait a bit if you hit the lunch rush (from just after 11 to about 1215).  But even at the worst, I’ve only had to wait about 10 minutes for a seat, and the waiting line clears out rapidly when the rush subsides.

 

VARGR


Last edited on Mon Jul 16th, 2012 10:53 pm by Vargr



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 Posted: Tue Apr 3rd, 2012 09:06 pm
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Ruff
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But how many paws do you give it?

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 Posted: Wed Apr 4th, 2012 09:01 pm
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Melchar
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       ...so tell us what you really think.  ^_^  [and I must add a whimper of protest that this tantilizing place is located off in the wilds of Colorado.]

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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2012 02:28 am
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Vargr
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Ruff wrote: But how many paws do you give it?
Definitely 5 out of 5 paws, across the board for Value (all you can eat for under $!0, if you just have the buffet and water - how can you beat that?), Quality (Everything seemed fresh, healthy, and tasty), Taste (you gotta like stir-fry, but beyond that, you'd have to work to mess things up and the recipe cards are a major help in that department), and Service (Attentive and friendly staff, and the owner/manager dropped by to see how things were going on 2 of wuff's 3 visits), and certainly for "over all" combined rating. Definitely worth a visit if you like this type of cuisine!



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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2012 02:29 am
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Vargr
Vargr


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Melchar wrote:        ...so tell us what you really think.  ^_^  [and I must add a whimper of protest that this tantilizing place is located off in the wilds of Colorado.]

Well, they're not only located in Colorado, but they appear to be Central-USA oriented. At least so far. Nothing further West than CO, to date.



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