#69: Noodles & Co

Right off the bat here I just want to say I didn’t realize how many locations this restaurant had.  Until I looked at their website today I thought they were a single location or maybe a small chain, but it seems they are all over the country, mostly in the east.  I had never heard of them before though and I’m sure I’m not the only one, so here we go.


My friends Amelia & Eric came up from midtown to see Prometheus (great movie, btw) and do lunch.  They chose Noodles & Co from my list and so off we went.  They are located in the Fountains shopping center out in front, close to Roseville Parkway, right next to California Pizza Kitchen.  I arrived first at about 2PM while my friends were off finding a parking spot.  Despite the parking throughout the Fountains being pretty packed overall the restaurant was fairly quiet.  For whatever reason I had imagined Noodles & Co as being a table service type of place, but instead you order and pay at a counter in the back.


Interior 1

Interior 2

Once my friends had made their way inside we approached the counter and I started to check out the options.  They have it split into three sections (see menu), Mediterranean, Asian & American.  They also have a section of sandwiches which I nearly ordered from (the Wisconsin Cheesesteak: marinated steak, Mac & Cheese sauce, cheddar-jack cheese, red onion, bell pepper and mushrooms on ciabatta), but I decided I should probably stick with one of the main sections for my first visit.  First,  you make a selection from one of these sections, then (for most) you choose a meat or tofu (parmesan-crusted chicken, chicken breast, marinated steak, shrimp, meatballs or organic tofu).  Finally for a buck extra you can add a side salad (tossed green, caesar or cucumber tomato) or a cup of soup (Thai curry, chicken noodle or tomato basil bisque).


I decided on the Truffle Mac (“Our signature Mac & Cheese sauce spiked with white truffle oil, sautéed baby portabella mushrooms, parmesan and house-made toasted bread crumbs”.  Sounded pretty good to me.  I added a cup of the Thai curry soup and went with a fountain drink.  It all came to about $13.  I headed to grab my soda and was happy to see, for the first time since Dos Coyotes, one of the fantastical new Coke machines with a million flavors.  Of course I went with Dr Pepper, which was well mixed and very tasty.

Coke Machine

We were seated for less than 5 minutes when our orders began to arrive.  Eric ordered the Spaghetti & Meatballs (Five meatballs on spaghetti, crushed tomato marinara and parmesan) and Amelia ordered a bowl of the Thai Curry Soup with organic tofu (yellow coconut curry, broccoli, carrots, red pepper, onion, mushrooms, a “light portion” of rice noodles, served on cabbage with black sesame).  Both were pretty good sizes, I forgot to ask but I’m assuming they were both the large orders.


Spaghetti & Meatballs

Thai Curry Soup w/ Tofu

I had a small hot dog before the movie because I had skipped breakfast (no surprise there) and I wasn’t super hungry, so I just went for a small order of the Truffle Mac.  The portion of parmesan-crusted chicken was about twice as big as I was expecting, which was nice of course.  The mac & cheese  was very rich and delicious.  The baby portabella mushrooms were a great addition.  The chicken was ok, it was a little dry and felt like it was probably prepped, frozen and shipped to the store.  Flavor-wise it was decent, but I think if I’m in the mood for that I’d be better off getting the real deal at another restaurant.  The chicken breast may be a better, juicier option here, and I’m sure that’s what I’ll try next time.

Truffle Mac

Truffle Mac 2

The Thai curry soup was very light, as least the noodles and other ingredients were.  It was actually quite full of noodles despite the claim of  a “light portion.”  The broth was pretty tasty, and towards the end when I was finishing it off, the spice that they claim on the menu with the little pepper finally showed itself, only after consecutive sips without a drink.  I have to admit I was hoping for something a bit richer, like the curry based soup I tried at Mongolian Bliss, but this was pretty good and I would have it again as an addition to my main dish.

Thai Curry Soup

I was pretty pleased with Noodles & Co in general.  As I mentioned I think that the chicken breast might be a better option than the parmesan-crusted chicken.  Amelia & Eric seemed happy overall, and Amelia even mentioned how she wished this type of restaurant where you build-your-own plate was more common downtown.  I’m sure I’ll be back again to sample more of the menu soon.

Website: http://www.noodles.com/locations/554


Note: As of when I am posting this, the Google map location is off by a block or so.  Noodles & Co is located in the fountains right next to California Pizza Kitchen.  I submitted a correction, so hopefully it will be fixed.


One thought on “#69: Noodles & Co

  1. What an interesting concept for a restaurant. I wonder if there are any other cultural crossover items other than noodles. Like what about a place that offers the well-known beef dishes of the nations. It could be called “Where’s the Beef?” or something. It was a hoot seeing some new guest stars, especially the picture where Eric is doing the Dave Caruso pose from CSI: Miami.

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