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“A great meal for a great price”
Review of Genghis Grill

Genghis Grill
Ranked #221 of 754 Restaurants in Alexandria
Cuisines: Asian, Mongolian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Child-friendly
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Neighbourhood: Old Town
Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“A great meal for a great price”
Reviewed 29 November 2013

For about $30 you can get a good dinner for two. I had a glass of wine which added slightly to the cost. We made our second trip after going out with friends a few days before. We had the "bowls" (all will be explained upon your arrival). You pack in as much food as you possibly can into your little bowl and then they cook it up for you. It arrives on your table amazingly quickly! The service was excellent both times -- Germaine was the guy who brought us back with his spot-on professionalism. On our second visit Felisha was our cheerful server. I was disappointed with the touch pad which demanded payment if you wanted to play more than two very quick games of trivia, but that's a small thing. Will we be back? You betcha!!!

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank theulises
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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42 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Annandale, Virginia
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Burned food, dirty restaurant, poor service.”
Reviewed 11 November 2013

I recently made my second (and likely last) trip to Genghis Grill. The first time I visited on a Friday night, the place was busy but relatively clean and fast. There was a two-sided, staffed buffet of proteins, veggies, and sauces to choose for your bowl that was deposited at a grill and brought to your table later. It was fine. I was kind of looking forward to our second, last-minute trip to Genghis on a Sunday afternoon.

The second trip was a bust. The host barely spoke, didn't look us in the eye, and refused to seat us anywhere other than next to the bathroom (which reeked of cleaning fluid) despite having a mostly-empty restaurant at mid-afternoon. The new e-tablet at each table seems useless--you can order drinks and apps from it, but nothing else--and the $1 games on it only serve to further distract people. (As if the big TV's in Genghis and--oh yeah--your dining companions aren't enough.) The buffet wasn't staffed. The grill cooks were mostly hanging out in the back room, and they burned my food. (I didn't even know it was possible to burn tomatoes like that.) The restaurant was dirty as there were no fewer than eight dirty, unbussed tables as well as dirty napkins and other debris on the floor. Plenty of staff just hanging around on a slow afternoon but nobody bothered to clean up and, apparently, management just didn't care. The meal finished with a completely unsolicited story from the waiter about how he was waiting to grow his hair out even longer before he finally wore a hairnet at work. Yum.

I expect this sort of experience from a regular fast food joint like McDonald's (which is also why I never go to regular fast food joints), but I'd hoped for a little bit better from a sit-down, table-service, fast casual establishment. If nothing else, it would've been nice to have food that wasn't burnt.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank decafisevil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alexandria, Virginny, USandA
Level Contributor
153 reviews
66 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
“Nickel-and-Diming The Unwitting Diner”
Reviewed 20 October 2013

We arrived at two on a Sunday afternoon, to a place maybe ¼ full. We were seated immediately, all of the patrons jammed into a single corner of the restaurant, the rest of the place empty. Our sever, friendly enough, came by and we ordered drinks. There was a touchpad on the table that seemed to be for ordering food, and he gave us menus, too. He explained how things worked, and my daughter and I decided to keep it simple and opted for the unlimited.

The touchpad offers games, at $1.00 each. No.

There are small, regular and large bowls, but the unlimited—you get to go to the bar as many times as you want—is limited to regular and small bowls. What? I asked why you can’t get a large bowl for an unlimited deal: sorry, that’s not the way they work it. It was obvious immediately what this place was about—discouraging the diner from eating to maximize profit. If you were about an enjoyable eating experience, you'd be happy to give me whatever bowl I'd like, because, after all, I did opt for the more expensive unlimited. That means "not limited," right? But no, it is limited, actually, to small and regular bowls. After all, for small and regular bowls, you’d have to get up and keep returning to the bar for more, which of course would make it more of a chore and would take more time, and therefore you'd be subtly discouraged from doing it.

So we headed to the bar, with our little cards with our order plans circled and table number and names scribbled on it—our waiter lost his pen and had to find another. We got to the bar and filled up on what we wanted. Now, the small bowls probably were about two cups, ridiculously small. The regular bowls were maybe four cups, maybe five, not very big at all. And no, you can’t have two bowls; you only get one, whether you’ve got the unlimited or not.

The selection of fixin’s is sufficient, significantly better than some of the low-budge mongo BBQ places I’ve been to (Chen’s in State College, PA, the yutzes). But it’s far less in selection than our favorite, the chain called BD’s. There are ten powdered spice choices, and the ridiculously tiny spoons are for a “dash.” They make you scoop and scoop to get what you want, scrimping on a spoon (more later). The sauces also go into little steel cups, and I noted more than a couple of them had not been sufficiently cleaned, with residue on them.

Once we put our selections on the bar for cooking, and after more writing on the ticket (he also had to hunt for a pen) the staff cooks it up and you return to your seat. This eliminates the crowd at the grill, but it seemed to take an awfully long time for the food to be prepared and delivered (in a relatively empty place), both times we went, especially the second time when our two orders were the only ones on the grill.

You select your starch at the grill station not at the fixin's bar, a pre-measured and prepared serving. No, you can’t have two—I asked. The staff brings your bowl to you. There’s a lot of rice in the bowl, significantly more than your personal order. This seems to me to be another ploy to get you to fill up on nice and cheap rice so that you don’t go back to the bar for another run.

Back to our table, a good ten minutes later, and a glass of water and iced tea still hadn’t arrived. One of the host staff was trying to seat a large party at two tables next to ours, and at our table as well, until I pointed out my car keys on the table. Well, then, okay, I guess you can sit here. Really?

I reminded our server, and the drinks came then.

I asked for a spoon to eat my meal with, Southeast Asian style. I was given a tiny dessert spoon. I asked for a large serving spoon and was told, with a straight face, that they didn’t have any of those. No large spoons, in a restaurant? What, are you afraid I'll enjoy my meal or eat too fast? It was either "no, he can't have one" or no one even bothered to look for it. Either way, that was another very black mark for failure to properly cater to a customer with a perfectly reasonable request.

And taste? It was fine, nothing wrong with it all. Nice and hot, right off the grill, well cooked. Both times I noticed more than a smattering of baby corn and fried egg in my order, which I had not included in my bowls. I don’t mind either, but that’s not what I chose. A good Mongo BBQ place knows how to keep the orders separate on the grill. I'd think this would be mighty, mighty important for those folks with food allergies.

Neither my daughter nor I could finish our second rounds, and I asked for boxes for takeaway. Sorry, but no. What? No, they’re not allowed to provide takeaway boxes for us. So, consumer, if you make the mistake of eating here, bring your own large ziplock and use it to take home the food you’ve chosen, had prepared for you, and have paid for.

Grand total for this farce: $36 for the two of us. Sorry, but given the inattentive service to deliver two drinks, the difficulty in getting the food, the lack of common flatware and the actual food we ate, that’s grossly ovepriced.

Bottom line: this place is about making money, not about making customers happy. Go somewhere else to spend your valuable family dining-out dollars.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank rugby007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
32 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“I Could Be Impressed... But Wasn't”
Reviewed 5 September 2013

My family and I are huge fans of BD's Mongolian Grill which we use to go to all the time in Ohio and Florida. Sadly, we now live in Maryland and they do not have BD's in the area. The other day we decided to take a day trip to Alexandria, Va and came across Genghis Grill on the GPS while looking for a place we could eat. The entire family was all for giving this place a try because we know there is one close to us in Maryland and we thought perhaps we had found our new BD's. Nope.

There is the same "basic" concept. Like Bd's, at this place, You are given a bowl, you fill it with fresh meats/fruits/veggies/sauces and it's cooked on a grill in front of you. They also have a few other options you can order from a menu. But that is where the same concept ends. This place charges you by the size of your bowl. You get a small, regular or large bowl.. for a single trip. For a single trip LUNCH regular size bowl it is $8.99. I believe dinner is 12.99. They don't show it on the menu but you can add an unlimited option to your bowl for $6.00 more if you ask. So, for lunch and a regular size bowl your total is basically $15. That is much higher in price than the other place we use to love,

They do not have a salad/soup bar either. Also, The process is also a little confusing. You are given a piece of paper where you write your name, and then they put your table number, size bowl and what "starch" option you want. For a regular size bowl you only get one starch option. And it's not served on the side, so if you order ride it comes already mixed in with your other food when given back to you. Also, noodles are one of the starch options, so instead of getting the noodles from the fresh meat/produce section yourself, they add in the portion size they want to when cooking your food. With Bd's they ask what options you want, and bring them to the table to serve yourself and you can get unlimited of those items. You don't get to stand up at the grill and watch them put on a show. There is no show. Just people cooking. No energy, no excitement, no tricks with their cooking untensils. They bring the food to your table when it's done cooking.

As to the selections.. they have an okay selection of items you can add to your bowl. Far less than Bd's. Also, NONE of the meats were labeled. Some were easy to tell, chicken, steak, but most were hard to figure out what the meat was. They need labels to tell you what item is what. The area was also a mess, things spilled, scattered, carrots in with pineapples from spills. A guy refilling bins dropped a whole bunch of bean sprouts and didn't bother to pick them up. The floors were sticky as well.

The two things I liked... is once we got our food, it did taste good. The food was well cooked when given to us. Also, they do have an allergy grill seperate from the other grill, so my gluten free son didn't have to worry about the cross contamination of the grill.

Our service was average. Our waitress checked on us twice for offer drink refills.

Sadly our experience here left us wanting and wishing even more for a Bd's in Maryland. If this company wants some extra customers... go to Bd's.. take a look at their pricing plan and how they do things and copy some of it.. than you can earn the loyalty of people like my family. Stick to a pricing based on number of trips to the bar and not on the size of a bowl... people will just overload the regular size bowls anyways to get the same amount they would get in a large bowl. Add a few more options to your choices/selections, don't make things like rice and shells limited and label the food items you have on the food bar. Then maybe... we will return and give you another chance.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank pogoaddict4life
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gibsonia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
148 reviews
94 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“New business model - no longer a good value”
Reviewed 20 August 2013

Since my prior visit, the restaurant has adopted a new pricing policy, which makes it more costly for me, so I likely won't be returning. They eliminated the "unlimited bowl" option and now have three different sized bowls to select meats, seafood & vegetables. They then want to load what you select with rice, pasta, or potatoes to fill the serving bowl. Since I don't eat those items, the new business model doesn't work well. For those who enjoy that as part of their meal, then it's likely OK. I just like the meat & vegetables, so I need more than 1 bowl (even the largest) to satisfy my appetite at dinner.

I have no complaint with the food itself. The make-your-own-bowl is just fine with fresh vegetables and meat/seafood items to use. And there's a wide selection of sauces & spices to include with the items selected. At the end, you tell the grill staff which starch item to add (for those who want it).

The restaurant itself can get loud as the decibel level is high. There are TVs around the place for something to look at, generally tuned to a sporting event, if there are any to be seen

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank fried003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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