Beyond the Basic "Build Your Own" Experience


Diners like their choices, and a variety of restaurants have sprung up catering to the “make your own” trend. With regard to Asian Fusion, there are make your own stir-fry chains running the gamut from sit down restaurants (BD’s Mongolian Barbecue and FiRE+ iCE) to fast food (Wok to Walk, in Europe). In spite of this seemingly tired trend, Flat Top Grill stands out above the endless line noodles and veggies as an above average make your own stir-fry experience.

With several locations throughout the United States, the Asian Fusion restaurant manages to put a new spin on the stir-fry experience, offering high quality ingredients, unique sauces, and so many options you could visit 100 times and never have to get the same thing. The process remains true to what you’d expect from a “make your own” restaurant: diners choose the size of the bowl they’d like, a base of rice or noodles, a protein, vegetables, and a sauce.

The Flat Top experience, however, deviates from the norm due to the special ingredients on offer. With alternative meat options like “quorn” (mushroom meat, surprisingly edible) and BBQ Vegetable Tempeh (not as edible), fresh seafood offerings (like calamari), and flavorful sauces like the Asian Sesame Ginger, Black Bean Garlic, and Indian Coconut Curry, adventurous diners can create stir-fry that’s more than soy sauce and noodles.

The most delicious part of a Flat Top meal, however, is their buttery, flaky roti bread. Even those who don’t think they need a side of bread with their noodles should try the soft bread, which is like the Asian equivalent of pita bread. If you’re lucky, and you get a nice server, you may even be able to garner a few extra pieces of the roti for your table.

While it’s no culinary revelation, Flat Top is probably doing the best job of all of the options within this restaurant niche. At Flat Top, picky eaters, vegans, and foodies alike can create flavorful stir-fry dishes accompanied by heavenly roti bread for either $10 (lunch) or $15 (dinner). If you’ve still got faith that “make your own” restaurants can be good, Flat Top is definitely worth a visit.