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Installation (Wordpress Part): Steakhead's Atlanta Eats Blog: The Real Deal on The Real Chow Baby

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Real Deal on The Real Chow Baby

I had been anticipating the opening of The Real Chow Baby for several months before its Grand Opening in late March. Billed as Atlanta’s first “create your own stir-fry” concept, I was envisioning a Mongolian BBQ joint where the customer fills a bowl of dried meats, veggies, noodles and sauces and gives it to a chef who cooks the user-made concoction on a large flat and round grill top. When done right, Mongolian BBQ can be a fun and tasty experience. However, the only one I know of is up in Cobb County and it is not done right. The only question I had about The Real Chow Baby is that none of their promotional stories or early buzz actually mentioned the words “Mongolian BBQ”. That is because they have taken some liberties with the concept.

Lunch time was quite crowded on Tuesday with their small space in the hot Howell Mill Rd location. The deal is an all-you-can-eat lunch for the bargain price of $7.99. The deal for dinner is $11.99. Customers form a line and begin filling their bowls with rice, noodles and veggies. The sauces come next. Unlike traditional Mongolian BBQ, sauces are ready made, such as Hot Mustard, Kung Pao, Teriyaki and Thai BBQ. In traditional Mongolian BBQ, the user has more power to create their sauce with more base ingredients, such as sugar water and soy sauce. I found the ready made sauces took some of the fun out of it, as well as creating more room for error as some sauces definitely should not be mixed.
The next step in the process was the protein area. Choices include pork, beef, chicken, catfish and calamari. Unlike Mongolian BBQ, the meats were fresh, not dried. At that moment, you give your bowl to the chef. A stick with your table number and name identifies your bowl and a waiter delivers it to you when it is ready (a nice step up compared to waiting at the grill). The ingredients are fresh and the cuts of meat are high quality. If there is one thing about this place to knock, its that you may have the tendency to overeat. In my case, I could have stopped with one bowl, but I was eager to try a new concoction with a different sauce combination. But if you’re a fan of Asian cuisine, I think you are really going to like The Real Chow Baby. It will definitely be added to my lunch rotation. Grade: B+.


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