This may sound weird (or not), but as far as I can remember, I've only had Mongolian BBQ exactly twice in my life. Once was at a hole-in-the-wall in Newport Beach/Costa Mesa, which I already forget the name of. The second time was in Cambridge, MA, ten years ago. I was in town on business and my co-workers took me to Harvard Square on a particular snowy night to eat at a place called FiRE + iCE
. It was, without a doubt, the most popular joint at the time for locals.
I remember it succinctly because of that name. And I remember the sleekness. It looked nothing like that dive in Newport Beach/Costa Mesa. This was bright, corporate, and I sorta dug it -- especially because it was refuge from the bleary weather outside.
The food, I didn't remember much about. In truth, I think I recall it being no different than our local Mongolian joint, except a little pricier. But when I heard that an outlet of FiRE + iCE opened this past weekend at the Anaheim Garden Walk, it triggered a rush of memories. Most of which was about how friggin' cold it was, there in Cambridge, and how welcome the sight of food sizzling on that ginormous hot plate was.