Noodles & Company February 24, 2013
Full disclosure: Noodles & Company was kind enough to send me some coupons for free noodles so that I could check them out. The free-ness of these noodles in no way influenced my opinion regarding their deliciousness.
Noodles & Company is one of those magical and rare chain restaurants that actually caters to vegans. It’s like looking at horses off the side of the highway and spotting a unicorn. For one thing, you can add organic tofu to any dish at Noodles & Company. And I’m not talking about sad, flavorless, little white cubes. I’m talking about well-seasoned cubes that are cooked juuuuust right in a way I can never seem to replicate at home. Also, since all dishes are made to order, a lot of things that seem like they wouldn’t be vegan (say, a dish with a combo red-and-cream sauce) can be altered on the spot (omitting the cream and just using red sauce). And the vegetables! Such a bounty! Let’s take a look at what I ordered on this trip.
The Noodles & Company menu is divided into geographical regions: American, Asian, and Mediterranean. The American section of the menu is not your friend, but between the other two sections there are seven vegan entrees along with two sides. How do I know what’s vegan, you ask. Because they freaking tell you. The list of vegan dishes can be found here, on the bottom right. The only thing better than an all-vegan restaurant is a restaurant that just straight up tells you what’s vegan. No asking confused/uninformed waitstaff, no having to check with the kitchen, no worrying about undisclosed animal ingredients … just the simplicity of ordering food. Love it.
I got one Asian dish, Japanese Pan Noodles with tofu, and one Mediterranean dish, Pasta Fresca. The Japanese Pan Noodles feature caramelized udon noodles in a sweet soy sauce with broccoli, carrots, and shiitake mushrooms, topped with bean sprouts, black sesame seeds, and cilantro. When they say “caramelized udon noodles” they aren’t kidding. These noodles were absolute perfection. I think we should caramelize more things. The veggies were super fresh and well-prepared – just the right amount of crispness. I raved about the tofu above but let me reiterate: delicious. As an added bonus, bottles of the wonder sauce sriracha are scattered about the dining room. For those of you who, like me, have considered bringing your own personal bottle of the rooster with you everywhere, there’s no need at Noodles & Company.
Moving on to the Mediterranean section of the menu, I didn’t have particularly high expectations for Pasta Fresca. A simple dish of penne with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, white wine, roasted garlic, red onion, and spinach, I thought it would be tasty but nothing to rave over. I was wrong. This dish is FULL of flavor, mostly thanks to the balsamic vinegar. I basically couldn’t stop shoving this into my mouth. My only complaint is that I wish there had been a bit more spinach.
The takeaway? I love Noodles & Company. The Green Hills location is close to my work and their online ordering system is my new best friend. Did you know that when you order online you can add as many vegetables to your dish as you want? The food here is delicious, filling, and infinitely customizable. One of my favorite dishes here (not pictured) is the Cucumber Tomato Salad, and now I never eat here without getting a side of it. Oh and they have one of those freestyle Coke machines. At Noodles & Company, get exactly what you want, and none of what you don’t.
Noodles & Company
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