This restaurant is still open, though its sibling in south Round Rock has unexpectedly closed.
In our busy lives, PJ and I are always looking for fast, tasty lunch options. Preferably something not too far from either her work or the house. There’s this restaurant space near a major shopping complex less than five minutes from Paula’s work that would be ideal. However, over the years there have been several eateries give the location a try, only to fail fairly quickly. Is it the location? I’d like to think not, as the building has great access and visibility, with ready-made traffic through the mall’s parking lot. Of course, the problem could be with the building itself: High rent and a poorly laid out kitchen would be at least two negatives.
Maybe there’s a restaurant in the building now that will have some staying power: Kublai Khan Crazy Mongolian Stir Fry.
The mighty Khan was known for a lot of things, including conquering most of Asia at one point. He wasn’t known for culinary prowess, near as I can tell. However, this place may change all that…
The basic premise is this: You get to choose what, and how much, goes into your stir-fry lunch. A build-a-bowl concept that can give a unique dining experience every visit. You let the waitpersonage know that you’ll have the stir-fry (there are other options; more later), and they bring you a bowl. However much stuff you can get into/onto that bowl, you get in your meal. You walk to the filling area and choose: Protein (chicken, beef, pork, shrimp; often more than one kind available), seasonings (way too many to mention, with zesty and mild options), veggies, Asian veggies, nuts and more. After a couple trips you’ll learn how to build a bowl to rival Taipei 101 in height. Then the trick is to get your proto-lunch to the stir-fry station. On the way by, you can choose from a large variety of sauces to include. You hand over the booty and let the manager know what starch you want (fried rice, brown rice, white rice, noodles) and you get a numbered ticket.
You can watch your meal being fried, if you wish. The bowls come from customers through the fry manager, and then the cooks take over. They place your carefully-selected fixins onto a large, flat cooking surface. This grill is round, and they work your food with large spatulas, sizzling up the goodies as they move around the cooktop. It’s fun to watch, especially for the kiddos.
Display the number on the wire holder at your table and in a few minutes a hot, custom-designed meal will be sitting in front of you. Remember to show the ticket, though! No tickee, no laundlee; and for sure no crazy stir-fry.
There are about 40 sauce options, and you can mix-and-match to create your own signature flavor. Choices include kung pao, hot chili, sweet chili, Szechuan spicy, Thai chili, garlic oil, ginger oil; and that’s just some of the zesty ones! Soy, teriyaki, sweet-and-sour, curry, coconut, Korean BBQ and more await your tastebuds.
So, what if you enjoy Asian but aren’t that hep on a bowl of stir-fry today? Don’t let that keep you from trying Kublai Khan! They offer nearly a dozen appetizer choices (spring rolls, pot stickers, edamame, etc.), soups and salads, sushi and sashimi, tempura rolls, sushi rolls, and special rolls. Lots of seafood options, naturally, but if you want to try “sushi” without seafood, they’ve got ideas for you.
There are several meals for kids (mostly chicken), and desserts and drinks, of course. For the adults, sake and beer (among other grown-up beverages) are available.
Okay, so you’re ready to give the Khan a try, but you aren’t exactly a stir-fry expert. What about a simple option to start? How to get that dish you like at another restaurant? Kublai Khan’s has that all figured out. They have options for how to build specific bowls, what to include and what to avoid. These “standard bowls” are shown on the menu, and on placards at the filling stations. Easy, huh?
There’s only one rule to remember about the bottomless bowls of stir-fry: No take-home. Unless you want to pay another $5. So take what you’ll eat and you’ll be fine.
There’s another one of the Crazy Mongolian stir-fry restaurants opening in south Round Rock, near the Home Depot at I-35 and Texas 45 (across I-35 from La Frontera). That one’s even closer to home, but a bit further for PJ to travel at lunchtime. Okay, it’s not a deal-killer; two exits up the expressway, what’s that, like, five minutes? It’s nice to have options, though.
I recommend Kublai Khan heartily. It’s quick, reasonably priced, the restaurant’s clean and appealing, and there are many, many choices for a meal. If you’re looking for fun Asian, especially for lunch, give Kublai Khan Crazy Mongolian Stir Fry a chance…
Kublai Khan Crazy Mongolian Stir Fry, 12901 N Interstate 35, Austin, TX 78753; Just north of Parmer Lane, and part of the Shops at Tech Ridge. Phone 512.251.8886. Reasonably priced Asian stir-fry, sushi and more in a casual atmosphere, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Kid friendly. Alcoholic beverages available.
Enjoy the (Custom-Build Asian Meal) Heat!
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