Friday, November 28, 2008

5 reasons why I will never go to HuHot again...and why I want to own a HuHot

Some person in the "private sector" has designed the greatest money-making system ever! Unfortunately it is not Rob Brown (No, he does not own a restaurant--we just live so close to Costco that he can't help but go there a couple times a week.) After listening to our friends, coworkers, and students talk up HuHot Mongolian Grill, we finally decided to check it out for ourselves tonight.

1. There is no entry-way. And I don't mean there just isn't much room to stand and wait for tables. I mean, there is NO entry-way. Three feet inside the door there is a table. People stood around other people eating while they waited for a table to open up. And people had to stand around other people eating because the place was PACKED! People love this place! They will make themselves and others feel awkward as they eat just to eat there!

2. We spent 35 bucks and that did not include two margaritas....or any margaritas. But it did happen to include a tip to our "server." Here's what servers do at HuHot. They bring you an instruction manual AKA menu. They bring you something to drink. They bring you a bowl of soup or a bowl of salad. They bring you a bill. In other words, you totally get served. Dinner is a reasonable $11.99 for someone who is really going to take advantage of that all-you-can-eat deal. My meal should have cost six bucks max. Rob's should have cost nine.

3. I didn't actually get to go to dinner with anyone. See, the best part of this restaurant is that you get to create your own food. There is a big sign that says "Start Here." You grab a bowl and fill it with meat, vegetables, noodles, and all these sauces. Then the cooks grill it for you. You stand in a very long line throughout this process. It's all very Mongolian-like (they have a sauce named Ghengis Khan). Then you go sit down and eat. And then when someone at your table is still hungry, they get up and leave you to go get more food. So you end up talking with no one, plate of food, soup bowl, and rice bowl in front of you, other side of the table completely cleared off as though you came alone. There was a group of 13 eating at HuHot tonight--I wonder for how many minutes all 13 of them were actually seated at their table together. Five? Two?

4. I ate stir fry for crying out loud! Did you know you can buy complete stir fry kits these days? They are rather inexpensive. You can buy them at the dinky little HyVee drug stores even. In the freezer. Okay, so I knew that the concept of HuHot was basically Mongolian stir fry going into it....but the way people talk this place up, it really sounded excellent. Like Samarai and Tokyo and Ohana's, that kind of thing. But this is more comparable to Bonanza. You get led through this strange line thing like you are cattle going to water or whatever (they don't have the high wooden wall things like Bonanza though, so you don't feel quite so animalistic.)

5. The place was packed! How I wish HuHot was my own. I would be the girl at the front with the microphone, calling out "We now want to welcome Smith, party of four, to HuHot!" Rob would toss a couple manuals their way, collect their credit card number, and then ring the bell for the next herd to come through.

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