We’re going to do things a little different this post. Last week I was invited to sample some of the new menu items at Noodles & Company with a handful of my favorite people. What’s on the menu, you say? Well, for starters, noodles, but they also offer salads, soups, sandwiches, shareables, and desserts. I love that Noodles & Company doesn’t use artificial colors, additives, sweeteners, or preservatives. They offer organic, cage-free, hormone and antibiotic free proteins and fresh produce. See how they ranked.
Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 bites (clean and fresh dining room, menu posted for easy ordering)
Price: 4 out of 5 bites
Quality/Taste: 4 out of 5 bites
Service: 4.5 out of 5 bites
Wow Factor: 4 out of 5 bites (totally customizable menu)
Korean BBQ Meatballs with Gochujang sauce: Flavorful meatballs tossed with a sweet and spicy Korean-style Gochujang (go-choo-jang) barbeque sauce. The Gochujang sauce was really delicious! The sweet and spicy sauce added a caramelized coating to the meatballs.
Cheesy Garlic Bread: Parmesan and garlic butter melted over toasted petite baguette with Italian seasonings and marinara sauce. Chewy and soft on the inside, with a toasty crust. The bread was seasoned well with a nice blend of garlic and Parmesan. The marina was rich and chunky, very good!
* New! Chicken Veracruz Salad: Mixed greens topped with Roma tomato, red onion, chili-lime chicken, crumbled naturally raised bacon, fresh-cut corn, tossed with Jalapeño Ranch dressing and crispy jalapeños, fresh California avocados and cilantro. My favorite! There are a lot of flavors going on without being overwhelming. Noodles & Company roasts their own corn on the cob and cuts it off just for this salad! Bad ass! This salad had a nice spicy crunch from the crispy jalapenos, but the cool Jalapeno Ranch dressing and avocado balanced out the heat. The acid from the chili-lime chicken went really well the salty bacon.
*New! Napa Market Chicken Salad: Mixed greens layered with Gala apple slices, Roma tomato and red bell pepper topped with pulled grilled chicken, bleu cheese and naturally raised bacon crumbles, tossed with pomegranate vinaigrette. The crisp, sweet apple paired perfectly with the bleu cheese. I also appreciated that the bleu cheese wasn’t overpowering-sometimes it will steel the show, but in this case, it was a nice addition. The pomegranate vinaigrette added a light and sweet, yet vinegary touch.
Penne Rosa: Spicy tomato cream sauce, penne pasta, mushrooms, tomato, spinach, wine and parmesan cheese topped with parmesan crusted chicken breast. Another favorite! This sauce is the perfect blend of tomato, cream, and spice. The parmesan adds a nice nutty layer that is perfect with the wine.
Tip: Add a touch of Sriracha for more heat (shout out to Jacki)!
Alfredo MontAmore: Spaghetti noodles, four-cheese blend alfredo, mushrooms, tomato, spinach and parmesan chicken. Topped with MontAmore cheese, Italian parsley and cracked pepper . This was another top pick. I liked that the Alfredo sauce was light, it seemed appropriate with the delicate pasta. The fresh veggies were the perfect blend. Less is more and this dish is proof!
Whole Grain Tuscan Fresca: Whole grain linguine with balsamic, olive oil, white wine and roasted garlic, red onion, tomato, spinach, feta and Italian parsley with grilled chicken. The balsamic was a nice surprise and made perfect sense with the whole grain pasta. The feta added a nice saltiness that went well with the balsamic and white wine.
Japanese Pan Noodles: Caramelized udon noodles in a sweet soy sauce, broccoli, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, Asian sprouts, black sesame seeds and cilantro. One of my personal favorites. I love the thick, chewy udon noodle. It is perfect to soak up the sweet soy. The shitake mushrooms had a nice meaty earthiness and the cilantro brightened up the dish.
Pad Thai: This new recipe highlights a more traditional sauce and features green onions instead of carrots. – Rice noodle stir-fry with scrambled egg, napa and red cabbage, citrus, peanuts, Asian sprouts, green onions and cilantro with sautéed shrimp. Yum! I typically am not a fan of Pad Thai because of the sweet and spicy, Peanut sauce, but this was delicious! The sauce was lighter and didn’t smother the dish. I loved the combo of egg and fresh veggies. The shrimp was the best choice for this menu item.
Pesto Cavatappi: Curly pasta, basil pesto, garlic, mushrooms, tomato, wine, cream, parmesan and Italian parsley with naturally raised shredded pork. The pesto cream sauce was light, fresh, and paired nicely with the salty pork. I really like how the curly cavatappi pasta captured the pesto sauce with every bite.
Wisconsin Mac and Cheese: A classic blend of cheddar and jack cheeses, cream and elbow macaroni with broccoli. Classic creamy and cheesy favorite. The broccoli was a nice addition and showcases how every dish can be customized and tweaked to your liking. Also, it’s a great way to sneak in those veggies for kids.
Steak Strogonoff: Marinated steak, mushroom sherry cream sauce, fresh herbs, cracked pepper, sautéed mushrooms, wavy egg noodles, parmesan and Italian parsley. The steak was juicy, tender, and paired nicely with the salty Parmesan. The sherry cream sauce was light and went well with the beefy steak, but it was missing that rich stroganoff flavor I am used to. I would described this dish as a modern stroganoff.
Snickerdoodle and Chocolate Chip Cookies and Rice Krispy Treat: Delicious! The rice krispies are made in house daily and you can tell! They are soft, fresh, and takes your right back to when you used to help mom make these as a child. The cookies were also soft and delicious.
Noodles & Company is the perfect spot no matter what you are in the mood for. One of my favorite features Noodles & Company’s customizable menu which makes it great no matter if you are gluten free, picky, or just simply trying to eat all natural, organic food. You also have the option of getting some dishes as buff bowls (hold the noodles, more veggies). Noodles & Company is family friendly and even has options for the kiddos, too. They will happily cater your next event or get together. How awesome would it be if you could eat Pad Thai or Penne Rosa at your birthday party or a shower? Remember to sign up for the email club so you don’t miss out on specials, promotions, and coupons. Stop in and experience the new menu items and don’t forget your classic favorites!
Thanks to my mom, Nastassia, Inda, Lauren, and Jacki for joining me. It was so much fun, ladies!