At Khan’s, you decide EXACTLY what your dish will include. That makes it paradise for vegans. Khan’s Mongolian BBQ is on 4th Avenue, right next to the entrance to the Arcade. When you walk in, it kind of looks like a buffet. You can a choose a large or small bowl and then fill it up with whatever you want. They have tofu and TONS of fresh vegetables: sprouts, green peppers, carrots, white and purple cabbage, water chestnuts, snow peas, broccoli, onions, zucchini, mushrooms, scallions, baby corn, and more. Plus you get $1 off for getting a vegetarian bowl. You should see the art of architecture that takes place here–people build elaborate towers of food, cramming as much food as possible into the bowls. I have yet to master the art of making a bowl without anything falling out of it onto the counter or floor, but that’s okay because there’s always someone walking around refreshing the bins and cleaning up the messes made by people like me.
Towards the end of the line are a wide variety of sauces and seasonings to make your creation complete. There are recommended recipes taped to the sneeze guard, but I usually just add a little bit of everything. A little goes a long way with all the sauces–if you add too much, your food will come out too liquid-y. It has taken me several visits to find the appropriate sauce-to-bowl ratio. Also, let me tell you, it is awkward to take photos of the food line in Khan’s. People must have thought I was insane. Once your bowl is complete, you approach the cash register and hand it over so they can cook it up for you. You get your choice of rice or noodles, but get the rice because the noodles are made with egg. The key feature of a Mongolian BBQ restaurant is the large metal cooking area; I read that it’s supposed to be reminiscent of Mongols cooking food on their big metal shields. If you ask nicely, the proprietors will cook your food in a pan in the back instead of on the big cooking circle thing, to avoid having your food cooked where meat was just prepared mere moments before. That’s what I always do.
You get a little paper number and wait for your food to come out, and when it does, you are in for a serious treat. Rice, veggies, tofu, sauce, all made exactly to your specifications. And it doesn’t end there. Khan’s has an arsenal of delicious condiments you can use to top your dish. There’s soy sauce, duck sauce, sriracha, tabasco, hot sauce, and something delicious and brown next to the register in little cups. You can choose chopsticks or traditional utensils. I have to tell you, I’ve never had anything at Khan’s that wasn’t delicious, but the plate you see here was the best I’ve ever had while eating there. I think I finally got the sauce-to-bowl ratio right. Just writing this entry is making my mouth water.
Khan’s is a seriously popular downtown lunch spot. If you show up just after 12:00, you’ll have to wait a while and there probably won’t be any tables left. If you can, try to head there a bit before 12:00 or a bit after 12:30. I’m glad to see that so many people love this place. I am absolutely certain that I will be back, just as I have been there many times before. The best thing about Khan’s? Every meal is different.
Khan’s Mongolian BBQ
237 4th Avenue N.
Nashville, TN 37219
Khan’s doesn’t have a website, but here is a blurb from the Nashville Scene.