Sizzling Fresh Brings Mongolian Barbecue to El Dorado Hills
Photos by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group
No one knows the true origins of Mongolian barbecue. Some say it’s based on an ancient practice in which Mongolian warriors would stir-fry meat in their upturned shields over a fire; others believe it might be a spin-off of the Japanese style of grilling called teppanyaki. Regardless, eating at a Mongolian barbecue joint is a fun and delicious experience.
Sizzling Fresh is nestled in the pretty little courtyard below the movie theater at Town Center. When you enter, you’re greeted with smiles and immediately pay for your meal and drinks. If it’s dinnertime, it’s all-you-can-eat (so come hungry!); at lunchtime you get one bowl but it’s less expensive and—don’t worry—one bowl is more than enough.
Once seated, the servers bring out rice, soup and egg rolls while you go for the main event. Here’s how it works: At one end of the counter, there’s a pile of bowls…grab one and proceed down the line.
At first, this might feel a tiny bit like a school cafeteria, but trust me, there’s no mushy vegetables or pseudo-beef served here—you get to call the shots. This is a culinary adventure and you’re in charge. Live a little, invent your own combinations, make it up as you go. No one will judge you.
Meat is first in line; thinly shaved slices of beef, chicken, pork and lamb. Next comes a smorgasbord of seriously fresh veggies—a rainbow of greens, reds, yellows and oranges that instantly brighten your bowl. There’s also tender tofu. And don’t be overwhelmed by the multitude of sauces—just follow the handy guide that’s posted, or experiment and come up with your own personal flavor scheme. You can also garnish with garlic, water chestnuts, pineapple or peanuts, and then you come to the cooking station where one of the skilled chefs flings your creation onto the huge grill and sizzles the bowl of goodies to perfection, slowly circling and stirring with long bamboo sticks.
When everything is perfectly barbecued, they whisk it into a fresh bowl and hand you your steaming dish of deliciousness. And finally, the best part: You dig in! Sizzling Fresh is a superb deal, and an adventure you can’t miss. What will you put in your bowl?
—Jeremy B. Neely
Sizzling Fresh Mongolian Grill, 2023 Vine Street, El Dorado Hills, 916-941-6056.