Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Running Hot and Cold at Fire + Ice

Fire + Ice Grill and Bar
321 W. Katella Ave. #315
Anaheim, CA 92802

Katie and I went to the Taste of Anaheim awhile back, and  it was hosted at the Garden Walk in Anaheim. One of the few restaurants that was open during the event was Fire + Ice, a different kind of take on Mongolian barbeque. They let attendees from the Taste of Anaheim come into their restaurants and see what they were all about. I thought that was a great idea, which most of the other eating establishments should have embraced. From what I have heard, the stores at the Garden Walk need all the help they can get at this struggling outdoor mall.

Fire + Ice has six locations and only two in California, (the other California branch is in Tahoe). They were founded in 1997. The basic premise of Fire + Ice is that customers walk around and gather raw vegetables, meats and pastas, combine them with sauces, and then hand them off to the cook to finish off the process. Let's take a look at how this all works.

Along the back wall they have suggestions on blackboards for guests to try. None of the three of us used these suggestions however. We all winged it, and went with what sounded good.

This is part of their salad bar. Ryan opted to get some salad before his meal. They had limited salad bar options here. About eight items are offered here for you to put on your salad, all basic items you would expect to see at any other salad bar. The empty salad bowl above is a precursor of things to come.

Here are most of the meat offerings from the night we were there. Shaved steak, rib eye steak, hot dogs, mahi mahi, scallops, hamburgers, tuna, tilapia, mussels, chicken, shrimp and pork chops were in the lineup for us. It was hard to make a choice the first time through, so I went with a hamburger and hot dog, not the most daring choices, but I knew I would make another trip through the line. Ryan chose to get a whole meat parade on his plate, and Katie got a pasta dish to start off.

The next station is what I would call the extras station. These choices included jalapenos, carrots, bacon, onions, garlic, pinto beans, and pineapple. There were more choices but I failed to get pictures of them. Again notice the bowls, and the emptiness of some of them. More on that later.

Okay, so now after getting your sauce that you want on the side, you are ready to turn your creation over to the chef at the twenty-five foot grill table in the middle of the restaurant. The above picture with the hot dog and hamburger was mine, Katie had the pasta dish and Ryan, of course had the meat-topia plate. Here is a look at the cooking process.

The cook provides you with the buns and cheese, and then you take your plate back to your table. The entire cooking process takes between five to ten minutes, and the cook has multiple orders going at the same time.

Here are some of the finished plates. My hot dog tasted good, but I would not waste my time on another one of those again. Katie's  pasta plate was good, and I got something similar to that the next time I went up. The hamburgers were really good and juicy. The steak tasted great, maybe a little plain, but you could adjust that with some seasoning. I liked that they had unlimited bacon, which should be their big selling point.

These were some of the other dishes that we got on our last trip through the line. These both tasted good, but the oil taste really stays with you for awhile. We had gotten here at 8, and they close at 10, but they start closing up shop around 9:30. They had stopped bringing out new food before that, so we only made two trips through the line. I understand that they may not want to waste food, but I was disappointed not being able to go through again.

We chose to share one of their signature drinks, the Scorpion Bowl. This libation featured white and dark rums, gin, brandy and fruit juices. They were a little heavy on the fruit juice, and the taste of this was refreshing, but too fruity for me, Ryan thought the fruitiness was just right.

I have mixed feelings on Fire + Ice. First the negative things about the place. They needed to have another guy or two behind the counter refilling the bowls of food, and sauces. A lot of times we had to wait for things. I also think that they started to wrap things up too early. At least let the people eating here enjoy their unlimited food. The service could have been better, and the operation explained better. We made the mistake of sitting in the bar, and I think if we would of had a regular waitress, it would have gone more smoothly.

Now the good things about Fire + Ice. I really liked the variety of the foods that they have. I have been to one Mongolian restaurant and they did not have this much variety. It also is a plus that they have hot dogs and hamburgers, so you can feel free to bring the kids along. It did taste good, but at the same time it was also greasy. Even though there was only one cook, he did an awesome job of cooking and keeping everything on track. I think this restaurant can make it, if it irons out the kinks, and if the Garden Walk can attract some visitors.

Out of five Hekla's, (Iceland's most active volcano, get it because of the name of this restaurant!), five being best to zero being worst, Fire + Ice gets 2.5 Hekla's.

For more information on Fire + Ice, click here:

Fire + Ice Grill + Bar on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Meat Parade? Fruitiness? Did Ryan read this yet? LOL - great post - I agree about the shutting everything down too early - it seemed like the staff (our waitress not included) kinda disappeared at 9:30 - but it was an interesting experience for sure!