Noodles have found my company

Over the course of spring break I stopped at the new Noodles & Company that opened on Wanamaker, the design and care of the restaurant itself was nice enough, though it’s nothing to write home about, the restrooms were spotless and the tables were cleaned almost immediately after the customers who were eating had left them.

The design of the actual restaurant is very minimalist, relying heavily on wood and metal. It creates a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere, despite the chaos of the lunch rushes that seemed to plague my visits.

Despite those lunch rushes service was still reasonably quick. I never had to wait more than five to 10 minutes to place my order despite the large number of people in line. After that, it was around a 10 to 20 minute wait for my food to be brought to my table, which was completely acceptable when you take into account the sheer number of people that visited the restaurant in its first week. The one time I placed an online order for carryout I was directed to the front of the line to pick up my food, eliminating the wait entirely.

The food itself is delicious though if you choose to add extra meat to your pasta dish it adds at least $2, which can make certain dishes rather pricey.  Over the course of my visits I sampled the Japanese pan noodles and the pad Thai.

The Japanese pan noodles used caramelized udon noodles as the base of the dish. These noodles were then covered in a sweet soy sauce and garnished with vegetables including broccoli, carrots, shiitake mushrooms and Asian sprouts. The noodles themselves were great and the sweet soy sauce was delicious, but where this dish really shined was the vegetables. They were cooked thoroughly but still retained a light crunchiness, unlike most noodle dishes where the vegetables end up as a mushy mess.

Like the pan noodles, the vegetables in the pad Thai were delicious and crunchy as well. The rice noodles in the pad Thai were boiled just right, not too floppy and not too firm. In addition to the noodles, the mix of flavors from the scrambled egg, sweet chili, citrus and peanut was delicious and quickly made the pad Thai one of my favorites.

All in all, Noodles & Company is a great place with great food. It’s not super cheap, nor is it super expensive, it runs right down the middle. With tofu and meatless dishes it can serve meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike. Noodles & Company is well worth the money.