I am by no means a regular customer when it comes to eating at restaurants. My PhD research area involves food service sanitation, so I try to avoid being too critical about the places I eat.
Unfortunately, yesterday (Sunday January 30th, 2011) was an exception.
The Purdue hospitality graduate student association held a social lunch at a relatively new restaurant in town called HuHot Mongolian Grill. Being a new place in town, it was very busy while we were there, and this was my first experience with Mongolian food.
I was LESS than impressed, in fact I don't really know how express my lack of impression of this place. I will admit that I had fun choosing the foods I wanted included in my meal; however having to deal with frozen/raw meats and raw produce, then adding sauces and seasonings over the mixture and then waiting in line to present my creation to the cooks at the grill, could potentially cause food-borne contamination. the longest I had to wait to have my ingredients placed on the grill was about 5 minutes, where I had about 6 people waiting in line in front of me and the grill area, which is a circular cooking surface about 6 foot in diameter, already filled with other peoples food. By the time we left the restaurant, the line waiting to enter the grill area was about 30 deep, and I can imagine some of the people waiting an easy 20 minutes to get to the grill area.
Once my food was placed on the grill, it basically sat there until the person doing the flipping and stirring made his way around through every ones food. You really had to keep an eye on where they placed your food on the grill, as it was easy for them to try and hand your food to someone else. So my food got stirred and flipped once, then another cook came around and verified that the meat was at least thoroughly cooked, platted it up, and handed it to me. Unfortunately, while they ensured that the meat was apparently properly cooked, the other items were given less attention. Some pieces were over cooked and other pieces were undercooked or even still raw.
Suffice to say, I will not be returning to this place anytime in the near future, if at all. I give this restaurant 1/2 out of 5 stars.