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Jiang's Mongolian Grill creates a stir

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(Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com)
Cook Michael Lin mans the Mongolian griddle during dinner service at Jiang's Mongolian Grill in Algonquin on Monday, November 26, 2012.
Caption
(Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com)
Abby Parisek of Crystal Lake picks out her vegetables for her stir fry while dining at Jiang's Mongolian Grill in Algonquin on Monday, November 26, 2012.
Caption
(Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com)
Stir fry cooks on the griddle during dinner service at Jiang's Mongolian Grill in Algonquin on Monday, November 26, 2012.
Caption
(Sarah Nader - snader@shawmedia.com)
Jim Policheri of Huntley and his son, James, 7, watch as their stir fry is being cooked at Jiang's Mongolian Grill in Algonquin on Monday, November 26, 2012.

ALGONQUIN – Over the large cooking surface are paintings of Genghis Khan riding on a horse, hunting for food with his men.

After a day of hunting, they eat the food they have killed, said Maggie Lin, a shift manager at Jiang's Mongolian Grill.

"After one day's hunting, they're hungry," Lin said of the story depicted in the artwork. "They got a meat, and maybe they got some veggies, and they cook together."

Inside the restaurant are red lamps above the the brown tables and brown chairs. There are bamboo poles surrounding the cooking area, and on the red walls are Chinese characters.

The ambiance in the 3,800-square-foot space provides the setting for the new stir fry restaurant that opened in its Algonquin Commons location last month. The restaurant opened after about a year of work, said Steve Zhao, Jiang's Mongolian Grill's general manager.

In the restaurant, people take a bowl and select their choice of protein, such as beef, chicken, pork, duck, lamb, fish, crab, scallops, or squid, and then add their vegetables. People then select the type of sauce they want ranging from mild varieties to spicy, and if they want noodles or rice.

The restaurant has more than 20 vegetables to choose from, along with 15 sauces to put into diner's meals.

"You just create your own," Lin said.

"Our food is very healthy," Lin added.

Spatulas ding against the grill as food is cooked and mixed. Three to five minutes after meat and vegetables hit the grill, the food is ready to be served.

People can watch cooks grill their food on the large, circular flat surface.

The food is put into a large bowl and brought hot to the customer's table.

"Every bowl is made different," Lin said. "It's not like a regular restaurant where you order off a menu and everything comes out the same."

Lin said the restaurant prides itself on being a healthier option.

"It's like Asian stir fry. Every time we cook, we use a little bit of oil," Lin said. "We only use a little bit of oil, and some water ... to cook the meal."

"Whenever I go to a restaurant, it's too greasy, or too salty," Lin added. "We want to bring more healthy [food] to the customers."

The restaurateurs recommend only three to four ounces of protein, and the rest filled up with vegetables and noodles.

"Mongolian restaurants want you more healthy," Lin said. "Three to four ounces is perfect."

Lunch costs $7.99 and dinner costs $9.99. On Sunday, meals are $9.99 all day.

People pay for one bowl per meal, but can have additional bowls for $2.

However, one serving is generally enough, Lin said.

"It depends how you choose, I think it's really good for one person," Lin said.

"No customer say it's not enough food right here," Lin added. "Usually they say, 'it's too much, I'm full.'"

Jiang's Mongolian Grill:

Where: 1740 S. Randall Road, Algonquin

Information: Call 847-458-9888, or visit www.jmgrill.com

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