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Iron Grill and Pizza/Mongolian Grill and Pizza

Posted by DID 10 Apr 2012 2 Comments

Iron Grill and Pizza (as the sign out front says) or Mongolian Grill and Pizza (as the menu says) is in the same strip on HWY 55 as Papa Mojo’s Road House, Sarah’s Empanadas and Tandoor Indian. A strip that on a Saturday afternoon was pretty deserted.

With less than a handful of other customers, our service was still somewhat mixed. At times the waitress was incredibly attentive, offering to demonstrate different sauces and help with the BBQ, but then she would disappear for extended periods of time. Often scattered; she’d ask if we wanted drink refills, we’d say no and she’d take our drinks for the refill anyway.

Iron Grill is an odd combination of Mongolian BBQ and pizza joint. We tried both.

The Mongolian BBQ selection ($8.50 lunch/$10.50 dinner for all you can eat) is pretty impressive with meat, vegetable, sauce and spice bars. The meat bar had white/dark chicken, beef, pork, scallops, crab meat, sausage, shrimp and eggs. The vegetable bar was pretty standard (zucchini, squash, sprouts, mushrooms, peppers, onions, tofu, water chestnuts, noodles and more).

It is with the sauce and spice bars that Iron Grill really stands out. The spice bar is filled with bowls full of turmeric, curry powder, cumin, dried parsley, garlic, chili’s and more – it’s quite lovely and exciting to anyone who loves to cook. The sauce bar has both oils (sesame, ginger, garlic, chili) and sauces (a house, teriyaki, peanut, curry, etc.). It would be nice to have some simple guidance here, some suggested recipes, or even just “choose one oil, one sauce, two spices” advice.

I went with a mix of veggies, tofu, sesame oil, teriyaki sauce, cumin, turmeric and chili. You have the option of brown or steamed rice at the grill. My self-curated stir-fry was really good – the veggies still crisp, the tofu nicely browned, all rich in flavor thanks to the sesame oil and teriyaki though I did get a bit carried away with the chili powder. Like all Mongolian BBQ, the food would improve with each visit as mastering the combos of spices, sauces and oils would get easier. Unlike other Mongolian BBQ restaurants in the area, Iron Grill doesn’t charge by the bowl or plate, so you can make as many return trips to the bar as you like. All of the meats and vegetables on a Saturday afternoon seemed fresh.

The pizza was a bit odd. We ordered the chicken tikka, which according to the menu came with tikka masala sauce, mozzarella cheese, sundried tomatoes and oregano. It came out on a sweet/doughy crust, but tasted like your basic nothing-special pizza Рclassic tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella with hunks of roasted chicken. There was no tikka masala sauce or sundried tomatoes. When we asked the waitress about it, she assured us the masala sauce was mixed in with the tomato sauce but then later returned to tell us the chef had forgotten the sundried tomatoes and the tikka masala sauce. She sent us home with a container of tikka masala sauce to use with our leftovers, which improved the pizza greatly adding a nice depth of flavor and the unique combination of Italian and Indian standards.

Will we make a trip over to 55 especially to go to Iron Grill and Pizza? No. But if in the area or working in RTP, the Mongolian BBQ would make for an affordable, semi-healthy quick lunch for those with big appetites. And thanks to Iron Gill and Pizza, I may begin seeking out tikka masala sauce as a new favorite pizza topping.

Iron Grill and Pizza/Mongolian Grill and Pizza
5410 NC Hwy 55
Durham, NC 27713


  • Parkwood said:

    You forgot about Thai Lanna in the same shopping center. Better than all of the restaurants you mentioned in your entry.


  • John Healy said:

    Some co-workers and I hit the buffet a few days ago. The vegetable and meat selection was pretty decent and they had enough spices to keep me interested. I’d say it’s almost on par with Crazy Fire. The “all you can eat” pricing system, as opposed to Crazy Fire’s per bowl system, is especially nice if you have a massive appetite. This way you don’t have to make a ridiculous tower of food in one bowl to try and save money. The service was quick and the cook did it right. I’d go again.


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