Although Flat Top Grill, located in , officially opens for business today, I had the opportunity to check it out this weekend.
From appetizers to dessert and everything in between, this is what we found.
We started our meal with vegetable spring rolls. This menu item is homemade on site and word from the kitchen was that they were busy back there slicing the shiitake mushrooms as thin as they could for today's opening.
You could definitely taste the homemade difference as each individual vegetable flavor seemed to pop.
If you're looking for a meatier start, server Cherie Born told us another popular appetizer is the Kung Pao Prata. She described the prata as similar to a quesadilla filled with onions, peppers and your choice of meat. It also comes with two dipping sauces: a spicy Indian sauce and a black bean/horseradish combo.
Create your own
Of course Flat Top's claim to fame is its create-your-own stir fry. It might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but really it breaks down to five easy steps:
- Write your name a wooden stick. Why? So your server can deliver your food right to you. The stick has your table number on one side; you personalize the other.
- Take your empty bowl and fill it up at the Fresh Food Bar. To facilitate things, some easy recipes are provided, including Kung Pao chicken and Lettuce Wraps. I used a recommended recipe to whip up some sizzling Pad Thai and it was absolutely delicious if I do say so myself. Need more help? There is always a host at the fresh food bar to assist also.
- Ladle on the sauce— there are 24 to select from. Flat Top Grill recommends three to four ladles of sauce and again provides recipes for some favorite sauce combinations. Keep in mind that the fresh food bar is color-coded and red means hot — truly hot!
- Communicate with color. At the end of the bar you'll find a selection of 10 colored sticks. These sticks let you communicate with the men manning the woks. Have allergies? Add a white stick. Want to add an egg? Add a black stick. Want it all wrapped up? Add a clear stick. I added the blue stick to have the roti prata bread (a sweet flat bread) thrown on top. Yum!
- Take a seat. Once you hand over your bowl, go sit down. Your server will deliver your freshly prepared food to your table.
"Once vegans and vegetarians find us, they keep coming back," general manager Marc Miller told us.
Looking at all the options, it's easy to understand why. There are five different vegan protein options including veat (vegetable chicken), quorn (mushroom meat), seiten (wheat meat), curry pakora (soy protein) and BBQ curry pakora.
With the addition of the white stick, vegan fare is cooked separately.
Flat Top Grill also caters to those with food allergies, including those in need of a gluten-free diet.
At the bar
Flat Top Grill has a nice grown-up vibe, especially up in the area formerly occupied by California Closets — that's where the bar is.
The bar has four beers on draft including two Japanese beers (Sapporo and Kirin), one seasonal Bells beer and Labatt Blue. There are an additional 16 bottled beers offered, five of which are Asian-inspired. The Tiger beer from Singapore gets high marks from Flat Top fans.
The house wine is Trinity Oaks and the cocktail menu also includes mojitos, margaritas and mai tais.
Dessert to die for
Although I've claimed my summer of decadence has ended, the Triple Chocolate Storm was too good to resist.
It starts with a warm brownie filled with chunks of white and milk chocolate. It's topped with French vanilla ice cream, homemade whipped cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce and sprinkled with chocolate chips.
If you think that sounds amazing, you're right. The diet can always start tomorrow.