Just couple blocks from my work in downtown, Portland Mongolian Grill & Hot Pot is my go to place for spicy oriental noodles exactly that way I want. It’s a oriental buffet place near the water park which is great for any meal for any casual occasions.
From wide variety of fresh vegetables and proteins, the customers will fill up their bowls with items of their choices, pour all sorts of different flavors (like hot oil, garlic/ginger water, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and etc) on the ingredients and take it to the grilling area. The very friendly attendees will dump the whole bowl on the hot grill and cook it to perfection within few minutes. You can come back as many times as you want and fill your bowl and take it to the grilling station.
If you are there for the first time, my suggestion is that don’t fill up your bowls with too much noodles or other stuff. Try and see which sauce or flavored liquid you like and how much of it you like on top of your food. Since the cook won’t add anything to your food, it kind of depends on you how you are flavoring your dish. It may taste very bland for the first time if you don’t add enough herbs and sauces.
There are also soup and plain rice that comes with the buffet price. I have never tried it but Portland Mongolian Grill & Hot Pot also has hot pot items where you can cook your own items on your table in hot broth.
I love this place for any quick lunch while I am at work (or get a take out box) or bring my kids for an informal dinner. If you have never tried a Mongolian grill place, this will be a very nice to start with.
About a block away from my workplace and very close to the Portland downtown waterfront, Dragonwell Bistro is probably my new favorite Asian place for now (not that I’ve explored much of Asian restaurants in this area). This would definitely be my go-to place whenever I am craving Chinese/Thai/Mongolian food for lunch during weekdays.
Plan to park at a nearby garage or find a street parking if you want to dine in Dragonwell Bistro. Once you are inside and seated, it is a nice place to sit down, relax, and enjoy the downtown atmosphere. This would also be a great place to bring your friends or family to hangout or celebrate an occasion. The price is reasonable and the restaurant has wide variety of options from soups, curries, vegetarian plates, seafood, meat, gluten-free, and spicy dishes. Their dinner menu definitely has more items than the lunch menu.
My first time at Dragonwell Bistro, for lunch, I had scallop in spicy tangy sauce with white rice. I received the perfect portion of rice with scallop and mixed veges. To be honest, this was one of the best scallops I had in an Asian restaurant for a long time. I could feel the crunchiness outside of each scallop and tender/juicy bite inside it. It was perfectly seasoned with little bit of thick gravy mixed in with different kinds of vegetables.
As I mentioned before, I would go back there again to try some of their other dishes, like Mongolian spicy beef or miso soup. If you are in downtown and looking for a reasonably priced yet beautifully decorated Chinese/Mandarin place to eat, I would recommend to check this place out. Finally, my waiter was awesome and very friendly, although can’t say the same for the guy at the cashier. But overall it was a good run for me and I could go there, sit down, order food, and finish my food…all in half an hour, perfect to get back to my work right on time.