WHY Design-it-yourself one-bowl meals that are a couple of notches above the norm at most low-budget Mongolian barbecue joints.
WHAT This style of cooking is neither Mongolian nor barbecue—it’s really a melding of Japanese teppanyaki cooking and Taiwanese flavors. Many of us Angelenos of a certain age remember the late great Col. Lee’s, where hungry twentysomethings in the ’80s could stuff themselves silly for a few bucks. Gobi is the hip new version of that, moved a couple of miles east on Sunset. You pay a flat price to load up your bowl from the buffet—meats (often organically raised), vegetables (some from the farmers’ markets), sauces and seasonings (oyster and chile sauces, Asian pesto, lemongrass, garlic oil) and cooked noodles. Grill cooks sauté it up and add a basket of soft sesame bread. Part of the fun is watching big hungry boys heap their bowls to precarious heights before handing them to the cooks.
WHO Hungry young men, families and middle-aged people reliving the Mongo BBQ feeds of their youth.