One of the very first indicators that I’m going to really like a restaurant occurs when first perusing the menu.
If there are so many appealing choices that I have an extremely difficult time zeroing in on exactly what I want to order, then I take that as a good initial sign things are going to turn out OK. Sure, those dishes still have to live up to the promise of their menu description, and service and other aspects of the dining experience need to be up to par to complete the good vibes, but having myriad eye-candy options sure gets everything off to an intriguing start.
Such was the case at the new Noodles & Company location in Saratoga Springs. Our group of four probably spent 10 minutes standing in line going back and forth over a bevy of possibilities while looking over the large menu on the wall. One of the employees came over and gave us a helpful rundown of his favorite dishes, which helped clear things up in one way and muddy the waters in another by opening our eyes to a few other items we might really enjoy.
Finally we just had to make some snap decisions and decide that we’d have to try some other dishes on a return visit. And after the delicious meal we did have, there’s no doubt that many return visits are in our future.
Heck, in the few days since our visit, I have heard my wife and one of my daughters literally mention that they can’t get “that noodle place” out of their minds.
While the great food and plentiful options are the main reason for calling it that, I can’t help but wonder if they refer to it as “that noodle place” because of some slight confusion as to the title of the restaurant. When we were preparing to go, we thought it was called Noodles & Company. But when we got there, the big sign outside the restaurant proclaimed it as Noodles World Kitchen. But then the menu also said Noodles & Company. Finally, we just asked employees at the counter what the real name was.
Turns out, it is indeed Noodles & Company. Apparently, there was some consideration about a new moniker when the outside sign was ordered, but then it wasn’t corrected in time, yada, yada, yada. Just know that even if the names don’t match up, you’re at the right place.
The restaurant wasn’t super busy during our Friday afternoon visit, and after we finally decided on our order, our food was delivered to our table within minutes.
When it comes to the menu, there are four main categories of noodles: Classic Noodles, Asian Noodles, World Famous Macs, and Zoodles and Other Noodles. Our four diners settled on items from three of the four groups.
Despite having a devil of a time deciding, I ended up ordering the Zucchini Truffle Mac. I couldn’t have been happier with my dish. The zucchini noodles — or zoodles as they are called — were combined with a tasty cheese sauce featuring black truffle, and enhanced with roasted mushrooms, Parmesan cheese and toasted bread crumbs. I opted for a meat add-on of Parmesan-crusted chicken, which could not have paired more perfectly with the rest of the dish.
My 12-year-old son also made an inspired choice, going with the Alfredo MontAmoré with Parmesan-Crusted Chicken. This was also delightfully delicious. It features spaghetti noodles, mixed with a four-cheese blend of alfredo sauce, roasted mushrooms, tomato, spinach and Parmesan chicken topped with MontAmoré cheese and cracked pepper.
Our other two diners were a little less adventurous, choosing the standard Spaghetti and Meatballs, and Pad Thai dishes. Well, let me amend that. The Spaghetti and Meatballs proved to not be standard as the server explained the restaurant was out of meatballs and wouldn’t have any for a couple days. So given a choice of other options, my 21-year-old daughter went with Parmesan-crusted chicken on the side, which proved a worthy substitute. Basically, you can’t go wrong with the Parmesan-crusted chicken at Noodles & Company. It is amazing and goes with about anything.
My wife also loved her Pad Thai, which featured rice noodles, scrambled egg, cabbage, citrus, green onions, peanuts and cilantro. Despite being a somewhat basic dish, it’s a great sign when both the simple and complicated earn rave reviews from their respective diners.
I also tried a couple soups, the Tomato Basil Bisque (excellent) and the Chicken Noodle (good). But I am very much looking forward to trying the Thai Chicken soup on a subsequent visit as its melange of ingredients appeared enticing.
The Zoodles and Other Noodles category features several choices with Zoodles and cauliflower-infused rigatoni. Those are on my must-try list at a future date.
There are also salads, a few appetizers and some spicy dishes available. Meat add-ons include marinated steak, pork, Parmesan-crusted chicken, grilled chicken, meatballs and shrimp, or go with tofu, so you can make any dish more to your specific liking.
Also, kudos for the great universal soda machine, with so many flavor-infused options available. Noodles & Company seems all about options, making our choice regarding a return visit an easy one.