Sunday, March 4, 2012

Noodles & Company

Whether it's noodles, pastas, salads, soups or sandwiches, Noodles has something for everyone. Made quickly and served with style, and all for around $7, this fast casual dining spot is convenient for on the go. With several locations currently in the DMV area, Noodles is expanding with 4 new locations in Falls Church, Springfield, Reston, and Chantilly set to open in Spring 2012.

The global menu features three cuisines rolled into one: Asian, Mediterranean and American. It's like getting to try new flavors from a different country every day.  Whether you're looking for a healthy way to compliment a diet plan, or yearning for something comforting to satisfy a broken heart, Noodles has you covered. There are hundreds of combinations with 400 calories or less plus your comfort food classics like Wisconsin Mac & Cheese and Mushroom Stroganoff.

I ate lunch at Noodles in Pentagon Row regularly when I used to live and work in Arlington a few years ago.  The quick and friendly service and tasty options kept me coming back.  Noodles recently contacted me and offered two free vouchers to try their new "grown up" Mac & Cheese options: Bacon Mac & Cheeseburger, Chili Mac, and Truffle Mac with Baby Portabellas.  So this weekend, Keith and I ventured back out to Pentagon Row.  (There is a location in Woodley Park for the city dwellers, but we had other business to take care of in Arlington, so that is why we went to the Pentagon Row location).

The restaurant itself was just as I remembered - a counter near the entrance where you place your order, self-serve drink station in the middle of the room, with seating (booths or tables) all around.  However, the large menu on the side wall is no longer there, instead now hanging high above the registers.  Having it on the side wall was easier for customers to read all the options.  After ordering, you take your number and sit wherever you like.  A few minutes later, someone brings your food to you. Simple as that. I ordered the truffle mac & cheese dish with grilled chicken.  It arrived lightening fast and piping hot.  The mushrooms were plentiful and the truffle essence was light, yet flavorful.  I am glad I added the chicken to provide a little more substance and make it a heartier meal.  The portion size was generous with enough leftover to box up and take home.  Being quite fond of both pasta and mushrooms, I would definitely order this dish again.  Keith found his bacon cheeseburger mac to be a different twist, but not as gourmet as other dishes on the menu.  He thought it might be a good dish for kids even though it is advertised as the "grown up" option.  Regardless, Noodles provides a better alternative to other fast casual dining. The price and quick service is excellent for grabbing lunch on a busy day.

Total Rating: 3.625
Food: 3.5, Price: 4, Service: 4, Ambience: 3, Accessibility: 4

What I ate:
Penne Rosa
spicy tomato cream sauce, penne pasta, mushrooms,
tomato, spinach and wine, Parmesan

Pesto Cavatappi (with Grilled Chicken)
curly pasta, basil pesto, garlic, mushrooms,
tomato, wine, cream, Parmesan and Italian parsley

Truffle Mac with Baby Portabellas (with Grilled Chicken)
signature mac & cheese spiked with truffle oil, sauteed baby portabella mushrooms,
topped with Parmesan cheese

Plus Keith ate:

Bacon Mac & Cheeseburger
signature mac & cheese mixed with crumbled oven-baked meatballs,
and crispy bacon, topped with cheddar-jack cheese, bread crumbs,
roma tomatoes and green onions

Noodles & Company on Urbanspoon

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