by Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman
Italians do it. Koreans do it. Even Indonesians do it. I’m talking about eating noodles, of course. Whether it’s soba noodles, spaghetti, rice noodles or ramen, noodles is a staple in many cuisines around the world and at Noodles & Co. you can go on a culinary adventure and try many different types of exotic variations of the noodle dish, as well as unique salads, sandwiches, soups and more.
I was invited to Noodles & Co. at the Gallery at Westbury Plaza in Garden City, Long Island, to sample some of their offerings. I was pleasantly surprised not only by the variety of dishes but also by the fresh taste of each ingredient in those dishes. It turns out that each dish is made to order and everything is fresh – nothing is frozen or reheated (there is no freezer on premises). Many ingredients are locally-sourced and/or organic and you can substitute meat (which is mostly free-range) with shrimp or tofu. Also available – whole-grain or gluten-free pasta, as well as the option to add extra veggies to the dish.
The meal started off with a platter of Rustic Hummus and a Backyard BBQ Salad. The hummus was delicious and came with fresh veggies and wonderful chips for dipping. The salad (which typically comes with chicken and is available for a limited-time only) was made with locally-sourced tomatoes and non-GMO corn which really made this dish. It also came with a delicate coleslaw dressing that I liked (I happen to love coleslaw in general).The next few dishes were interesting: Margherita Flatbread, Thai Curry and Tomato Bisque soups and Asparagus Di Parma. The flatbread was perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, bursting with flavor. About the soups – I am not a soup person but after tasting the Thai Curry I just couldn’t stop eating it (or rather, drinking). It had exotic flavors and a little kick and although the flavors were strong, the texture was light so I can see how anyone could easily add this soup to a meal of noodles. In fact, it’s pretty affordable to add it – $1.49 gets you a nice-sized bowl to go along with your dish. If you order a sandwich it comes free (you get a choice between either soup or salad). The Asparagus Di Parma was another favorite: this dish is usually served with parmesan-crusted chicken breast but I had it with tofu. It’s an organic, non-GMO tofu and cut into crispy cubes that soak up the flavor of the rest of the dish. It had locally-sourced asparagus that was cooked just right and the mushrooms in this dish were also delicious. This dish, as well as the flatbread, are available for a limited-time only. The Asparagus Di Parma was obviously a heavier dish but it was so good I had to force myself to put it aside so I could have room for the rest of the meal. Boy, am I glad I did.
The next dish was Pad Thai which was, hands down, one of the best Pad Thai dishes I’ve had! It’s funny because Noodles & Co. is not a Thai restaurant, so I’m not sure how they figured out the secret to this awesome Pad Thai. Maybe it’s the fresh ingredients and the simplicity of the dish that’s made fresh and in small batches. Apparently I’m not the only one to sing praises of the Pad Thai. People come to Noodles & Co. from all over just to have this dish. It is definitely worth it! I’m a little afraid to try it at Thai restaurants again after having it.
Next came Penne Rosa – one with parmesan cheese and the other with feta. By that point I was completely stuffed but I did hear that both dishes were very good. The one with the feta had a unique, creamy flavor to it.
When desserts rolled around I simply had to take a couple of bites because they looked too good! There was a Carrot cake, a Tres Leches cake and a Chocolate Doppio cake. The Carrot cake was super-moist and really delicious. I didn’t try the Tres Leches because I don’t like condensed milk but everyone at my table that tried it thought it was really good. The Chocolate Doppio was also fantastic and had a light espresso flavor that didn’t overpower it. This is a great cake for those who love dark chocolate because it’s not as sweet. Worked for me.
Noodle & Co. is a restaurant with a really unique concept – it’s a cross between a fast-casual and a sit-down restaurant. When you first walk in, you go up to the counter, order and pay for your food and then take a number and go sit at any table you like. A host or server will bring you your food and from then on, you can simply ask your server for more items if you choose to do so and you will get billed at the end of the meal. The tip is actually calculated into the server’s salary so you can’t tip him or her – you only pay for the food.
Another perk: A Coca Cola Freestyle Machine! For those who don’t know what it is – it’s a touch-screen soda fountain that allows you to get dozens upon dozens of different Coca Cola products in literally seconds. You can even make your own unique mixtures with some of your favorite drinks. At Noodles & Co. when you buy a drink you get unlimited use of the machine and drink whatever you like, as often as you want.
Noodles & Co. is a great place to take kids. The atmosphere is casual, the prices are affordable and the menu is kid-friendly (Mac & Cheese and Buttered Noodles are great options for picky eaters). Below is a “kids eat free” coupon – just print it out and bring to the location at The Gallery at Westbury Plaza.
Noodles & Co. is located at the Gallery in Westbury Plaza at 996 Old Country Road in Garden City.
I was not compensated for this post. I received a complimentary meal.
Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman is the owner of Mama’s Bites and has also written for The Huffington Post. She has been living in New York City for thirteen years and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature as well as a Law Degree, but blogging is her true passion. Maytal is a stay-at-home mom to three kids (ages 7, 5 and 1) and loves finding great products that make her family’s life easier.