Once the stalwart of an aging commercial strip, Mongolian barbecue has undergone a makeover. Check out Blu Bambu, a newish fast-food joint in the “fresh” mold, perched on Pier 4 in the Inner Harbor. You place your order, pay your $6.25, and fill your wooden bowl with freshly cut cabbage, mushrooms, peppers, or whatever you’d like the folks behind the plate glass to sautée with your meat or tofu selection. Gone are the days when you pick up a fresh piece of chicken with those tongs, add it to your bowl of veggies, and bring it to the guy at the massive drumlike grill. Now you sit at your table with your number, sip your soft drink, listen to bright, modern pop, and admire the mod fixtures, until a pert employee arrives with your sealed box of barbecue.
On a recent visit, the results were pretty good. The meat was skimpy, but the whole package was tasty and more than we could finish. As far as Bambu’s other offerings, one dining partner wolfed down his red snapper nigiri sushi ($4.50), giving it two thumbs up, but the other pooh-poohed her sushi combo ($8.25), saying she’d had better and bigger supermarket sushi, and for that price would a bowl of miso soup be too much to ask? Our vote: Stick with the Mongolian.