HuHot review

Feb 182004
Authors: Chris Kampfe

Depending on where an individual is from, a range of tools might

be used to consume their meals. Everything from forks and knives,

to chopsticks, to the good old two-finger dip in the pudding has

been used to clean the plate.

At HuHot Mongolian grill, owner Dave Thiele believes his

customers use all of the above and then some.

“People eat with their eyes as much as their mouth,” Thiele


Thiele’s belief is manifested in HuHot’s commitment to putting

out visibly fresh and appetizing ingredients for their patrons to

choose from when preparing their feast.

For those not familiar with the Mongolian grill style dining,

HuHot is a treat. Though Thiele describes eating at HuHot as, “sort

of an American Benihana experience,” he does concede that the

original concept for the restaurant originated with the Mongol

armies from days of old.

Thiele said that legend has it, after a hunt all the Mongolian

warriors would lay out whatever food they had to offer. Once a fire

was made, whichever warrior had the most intricately designed

shield laid it on the fire and all the food was communally cooked

on the hot shield.

“Two of the key ideas for the restaurant came from (this)

tradition,” Thiele said. “We want the customer to be able to see

the food they picked out prepared in front of them and have the

experience of a community grill.”

Atmosphere and Service

Along with a non-traditional menu, the dining experience is a

move of innovation as well. Once seated diners are presented with

menus that contain only drinks, appetizers and deserts. Before the

customers have a chance to be confused by the petite menu, a waiter

swoops in to explain the dining procedure.


The basic idea is that the customers go through a three-part

buffet, grabbing whatever looks appetizing to them.

The first part of the buffet is for the meat eaters. HuHot

offers fresh cuts of a variety of meats from the basics of chicken,

beef and pork, to some more eccentric cuts like buffalo and a

variety of seafood, followed by an array of noodles.

Next for all the non-meat eaters, HuHot makes them right at home

with a buffet of fresh vegetables that seems to stretch for


Once customers pick out all the goods, they move onto the last

stop on the buffet line, the sauces.

HuHot offers 12 flavors to pick from, ranging from mild to hot

and every flavor in between.

Most sauces have Asian based flavors like garlic, curry, ginger,

Szechuan and teriyaki, yet only a few would be considered too

extravagant to please even the most conservative palette.

While some customers choose to stick with one sauce, Thiele and

his crew have found that mixing the flavors can be quite


Thiele who claims to have been through the buffet more times

than he can count, noted “after trying nearly every combination out

there, I decided that is nearly impossible to have a mix of flavors

that’s not good.”

The last step in the dining experience is to bring the raw food

up to the grill, and watch it be grilled up right on front before


HuHot is the eighth restaurant in the franchise that began in

Missoula, Mont., in 1999.

“We feel like our atmosphere and prices, along with being all

you can eat were a good match for a college town,” Thiele said. “We

checked out (Fort Collins) before we came and knew the town was hip

and on top of things.”

To satisfy the “hip” crowd, HuHot has a full bar, a young

enthusiastic staff with the occasional head full of dreadlocks and

an eccentric interior inspired from different progressive oriental

restaurants from around the Seattle area. For those looking for an

alternative to the usual dining experience, HuHot proves to be a

pleasant surprise.

Open everyday –

Lunch, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. $7.49 weekdays, $8.49 weekends

Dinner, 4 p.m. – close. $11.49

259 South College Avenue

(970) 416 – 0555

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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