Noodles & Company
* Click here for rating key
Noodles & Company Restaurant Review: Someone here is using their noodle and has come up with a viable alternative to fast-food hamburgers: a big bowl of noodles, fixed your way. More amusing than authentic, the cooking puts a typically American spin on ethnic foods, with a stir-fry of Japanese soup noodles, and a Mediterranean salad of Greek sauce on Italian pasta. But the concept works, not because the flavors stick to basics but because the prices make meals here a bargain and because the service is both fast and friendly---you go through a buffet line, place your order, and wait at a table for your meal to appear. In fact, it looked like there were more staff members than patrons roaming the floor. We had the bowl of Japanese pan noodles---the soft udon noodles favored for soups---which were stir-fried and tossed with a gingery-sweet dressing; add-ons include chicken breast, organic tofu, shrimp and veggies, all for a minimal extra charge. It’s all formulaic cooking---the kitchen staff looked like kids---but noodle stir-fries, soup, and salads probably make for healthier eating than greasy fries and burgers. Besides, it is a handy place to take the kids for a budget meal with character.