If you’re dim like me, the words Mongolian barbecue conjure up the image of tattered nomadic tents flapping in a freezing wind, filled with smoke, grunting men and the overwhelming aroma of burning animal hair.

Where this misguided idea comes from, I have no idea. But imagine my delight when, after years of avoiding said food genre, I recently visited Zen, the newest place to occupy the Lower Greenville space next door to the Beagle, and found it inexpensive, quick and delicious.

Did I mention fun? Diners can concoct creations for the grill, culling from a wide selection of meats and seafood, veggies, oils, sauces and toppings to mix and match. Even if you burn toast and can’t boil an egg to save your soul, as one of my dining companions said, “You really can’t screw it up.” Hand your heaping bowl off to a grill attendant, choose from steamed or fried rice, and you’re set.

The décor is shiny and hip, and the service was enthusiastic and helpful (the staff guides Mongolian barbecue novices through the process).

A far cry from a chilly, pungent tent.

Zen Mongolian


HOURS: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. lunch, 5-10 p.m. dinner, closed Sundays

$, FB

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