Mongolian barbecue--which is often greasy and filled with MSG--doesn't always scream "healthy eating." But at Silver Lake's Gobi Mongolian BBQ, the communal dining experience gets a new epicurean disposition.
Owner Mike Buch, who also owns nearby Pazzo Gelato, loved going to Mongolian barbecue as a kid. And who wouldn't: You fill a bowl with meat, vegetables, noodles or rice, douse it in sauce and let some guy at the flat-top grill cook it for you.
But at Gobi's buffet-style bar, many of the vegetables come from the local farmers' markets; the thinly sliced chicken, lamb, pork and beef are all natural; and the sauces--11 different varieties--are made in-house.
You can mix and match oyster sauce, garlic oil and the others to invent your own flavor, or follow the helpful recipe tips at the condiment bar to make traditional Mongolian barbecue sauce or Asian-style pesto while assembling your bowl.
Although this is Mongolian barbecue with a Silver Lake sensibility (cool soundtrack, artisanal beers and pomegranate green iced tea are all on offer), Buch stuck to some traditional offerings: Once you sit down with your stir-fry, a basket of freshly baked sesame seed rolls, also known as shaobing, comes to your table.
Buch likes to tear open the small flat rolls and stuff it pita-style. "It's like a Mongolian hoagie," he explains. "It's really the best part."
Gobi Mongolian BBQ, 2827 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; 213-989-0711 or gobimongolianbbq.com