To age well, you need to eat well, but for those with dietary restrictions, restaurants can be a real challenge.
The Mongolian grill / Mongolian barbecue genre may have a solution: you choose your own raw ingredients, and a chef grills them for you. Typically, a range of healthy options is available, letting you customize the meal for your specific requirements.
It’s a fun and easy way to create a healthy meal without sugar, gluten, MSG, soy, or whatever else you’re avoiding. And because each person creates their own meal, friends who eat closer to the norm can still enjoy their noodles, sweeter sauces, rice, and so on.
This review covers the Dragon Stone Mongolian Grill in Prince George, BC, Canada. Your community may have similar restaurants — I encourage you to check them out.
“There’s no such thing as fussy”
I got a good feeling about Dragon Stone right away, when I messaged them before my first visit to ask about sugar-free options.
Owner Janine immediately replied (at 6:30 AM!) by describing their four sugar-free sauces made in house — garlic water, salt water, ginger water, and sesame oil — and adding “There’s no such thing as fussy, that’s what we’re here for!”
She also noted their goal is to “provide real, fresh, food that can be created to meet all sorts of dietary needs and restrictions, while still being delicious and feel like you are dining out.”
Fresh, healthy, friendly
A friend and I visited Dragon Stone on a Saturday for lunch. We each grabbed one of the largish metal bowls provided and filled them with sliced vegetable, meat, and seafood from the array of fresh choices.
For my first creation, I combined shrimp, baby clams, celery, green beans, mushrooms, green onion, fresh ginger, and water chestnuts. I topped my bowl with a combination of sauces: ginger water, garlic water, and plain sesame oil – all 100 % sweetener-free.
I then passed my bowl to the chef to cook on a large circular grill, and in 5 minutes, my delicious healthy lunch was ready.
For my second trip through the buffet, I created a different combination: beef, greens, sesame oil and garlic, sauced with salt water, ginger water, and sesame oil.
The servers were very friendly and accommodating, helping me check the sugar content of the soy sauce provided on the tables — it did have some, so I didn’t use it, but they said it’s fine to bring your own.
The Clean Plate Club
If your eyes are bigger than your stomach and you need to take some food home, the Dragon Stone treats this as a small takeout order, charging you 50% of the takeout price for that meal.
For example, if you had lunch in the restaurant during the week ($14.95) and wanted to take home some food you couldn’t finish, this would add $6.49 (half the takeout price of $12.95), for a total of $21.44.
Although I understand and agree with this policy– I hate wasting food — this came as a bit of a surprise to us, because it wasn’t posted anywhere. It would be great if the Dragon Stone could somehow let diners know about this in advance.
When I called Janine to clarify, she said, “At all-you-can-eat buffets, you’re not usually allowed to take leftovers home. To reduce waste, we’ve created that discounted takeout option.”She added that they’re looking at getting a scale, so they can weigh leftovers for a more accurate charge.
As well, note that if you leave an excessive amount of food on your plate (rather than asking to take it home), they charge a $3 waste fee — and there is signage about this near the buffet.
The lesson for buffet brilliance? Take modest servings, and only what you know you can eat.
No time to cook? Try takeout
Dragon Stone offers a takeout option: you can assemble and take home a container of food for $2 less than the adult buffet price.
“We receive great feedback on this as a healthy alternative to fast food,” said Janine. “This also helps makes meal prep more attainable for health-conscious individuals with busy schedules, as the portion is generous.”
Prices and more
Please see the menu image below for detailed prices. Note that Dragon Stone provides more protein choices at dinner and on weekends — this is why those buffets cost more than weekday lunches. Also, it’s licensed.
All in all, the Dragon Stone is a great option that makes fussy eaters like me feel extremely welcome. I’m looking forward to trying similar restaurants of this type in other cities – I’ll keep you posted!
The Dragon Stone Mongolian Grill
#110-3040 Recplace Drive (near SuperStore, Party City, and GoodLife Fitness)
Prince George, BC V2N 3L4