Thursday, March 27, 2008

First Look: Noodles and Company

I think it says something about the changing nature of the way we look at food in this country when I can write the following sentence: Noodles and Company is a chain with a soul, and one that I won't have to think twice about eating at.

The location closest to me is at the Ballston Mall, and just recently opened. I stopped by tonight for dinner because they were donating 100% of their profits to a local high school's sports booster club, and because I've been wanting to give them a shot.

For the most part, I'm glad I did. I decided on the Japanese Pan Noodles, which were udon noodles, veggies, sprouts, and tofu (the tofu is an additional cost). My initial reaction to the noodles was mixed, I wasn't quite sold on the texture of the noodles, which seemed a little rubbery, but it grew on me.

The tofu was perfectly cooked and the flavors works quite well together. I got the regular size, which was just right for a dinner portion. I'd imagine that if it were lunch I'd opt for the small portion.

While I was finishing my dinner the restaurant manager stopped by and asked how the meal was. He reported to me that business has been solid, and that Noodles and Co.'s next location, to open in Mechanicsville, VA, will also donate a day's worth of profits to a local high school.

I was also pleased to see that they're looking at focusing on seasonal ingredients, such as asparagus, which is just coming into season.

I could say without a doubt that I saw more people in Noodles and Co. tonight than I ever saw in Chicken Out before. This could be because of the high school promotion, it could be because it's still new, or it could be because they're putting a great product out there and people are responding to it.

I wrote a few weeks back that I didn't think they'd last against Vapiano and other local restaurants, but after tonight, I think I can state that not only does Noodles and Company have a soul, but they've got a pulse, and I think it'll beat strong for a good long time.


Anonymous said...

i fricken love noodles and company :) if you sign up for their email list you get a free meal on your birthday :) and a buy one get one free when you first sign up :)

Britni said...

I'm going to Ballston for lunch today. I may just have to hit up Noodles and Company. Thanks for the tip.

Um... Yum! said...

I love love love Noodles and Co! Although it's not very filling, so on more than one occasion, I will traipse back up to the register and order up another round of yummy noodles...and flat bread...and salad...

Ariana said...

try the indonesian peanut one. i thought it was super tasty.