Noodles & Company
333 North Main St., West Hartford
860-206-9986 and http://www.noodles.com
There's a new branch of the chain restaurant Noodles & Company that opened this month at Bishop's Corner in West Hartford. The company started in Denver, Colo.in 1995 and has been working its way East.
It seemed like the perfect place to go on a rainy Sunday, so we met friends and covered several items on the menu.
THE VIBE: It looks like a corporate cafeteria with gleaming stainless steel backdrop at the kitchen/ordering counter, warm wooden tables in the seating area and curving waiting area where you can peruse the menu while waiting to take your order.
The menus are posted along the wall and over the kitchen, or you can grab a small menu. After ordering, find a seat and your waiter will deliver.
THE FOOD: Noodles is an international concept. The menu is divided into three cuisines, Asian, Mediterranean and American. Each has four dishes, in either small or regular. You can add protein to any dish for an extra charge. For an extra $1 you can order a side salad or a side soup.
We tried something from each cuisine on our two visits. From the American side, we tried a Wisconsin Mac & Cheese and added Parmesan-crusted chicken breast which made it a hearty meal. Steak stroganoff came with its owne protein and included mushroom sherry cream sauce, egg noodles and Parmesan cheese.
Penne Rosa, from the Mediterrean, was made with a really spicy cream sauce. Be warned. We added meatballs which were dry and overcooked.
Two in our group wanted the Japnese Pan Noodles, but they were sold out. Instead they had Indonesian peanut saute, which both agreed was nicely balanced. The Pad Thai was ordered with shrimp, which were tiny, but tasty.
The side of chicken noodled soup came with wavy egg noodles and slices of white meat. Satisfying on a cold night.
The restaurant has a drink station with a new Coca Cola machine that lets you push buttons to make a custom creation.
THE BILL: Small noodle dishes are $4.55, regular $5.65 (except for Steak Stroganoff, $7.20 and $8.30). Proteins range from $2.35 to $2.65.
Noodles also has sandwiches, $5.95 and $6.95, entree salads, $5.65 to $7.75 and Truffle Mac, its signature dish with portaelles, mack and cheese and white turffle oil for $7.95.
Calorie counts are on the menu.
THE PARTICULARS: Open daily at 11 a.m. Closes 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call ahead for takeout.
THE VERDICT: Fun, fresh and carby.