Have you heard of a fast casual chain called Noodles and Company? No, I didn't either until they opened their first Bay Area location in Cupertino and invited me to a preview dinner. Noodles is situated at the corner of a plaza near De Anza College in Cupertino. With these prices and a Target in the same plaza, I think college students would love a cheap lunch here.
Here's how Noodles and Company works.
- Choose your entree
- Choose a size: regular for $5.89 and small for $4.89
- Add meat or tofu for additional charges
- Add sides or soup for additional charge
So you can stop after step 2 for a quick and cheap option. Noodles carries a variety of noodle and pasta based dishes with influences from around the world - mainly Asia, Europe, and the US. Here are a few I sampled at their grand opening.
Penne Rosa - penne pasta in a spicy tomato cream sauce with chicken breast.
The sauce had a touch of spice to it and although the chicken was dry, the seasoning was very tasty. This is one of their top three most popular dishes.
Pasta with asparagus and chicken in a butter lemon seasoning
Noodles offers rotating seasonal menu items. Asparagus is currently in season so this lovely wholesome dish is on their menu. This was my favorite of the whole meal. It's exactly like something I would make for myself.
Thai curry soup with rice noodles
This is actually on the soup menu although it does contain noodles as well. It is very mild on the curry and coconut milk taste and contains a bit more shredded cabbage at the bottom than I would prefer. It reminds me of my favorite lunch item in college, the Thai coconut curry soup at school. A little generic but not too bad, especially for the price.
Phil was giddy over the high tech Coca Cola machine with multiple types of lemonade.
A few side dishes
If you don't like noodles, you can get something like a healthy Mediterranean chicken wrap for $5.99
Japanese pan noodles - sauteed udon noodles with veggies and soy sauce
This is one of their top three most popular items. It's a Japanese influenced take on stir fried udon noodles. This was my second favorite.
We were spoiled with two desserts. These were not house made though.
Left: Tres Leches cake. Moist and spongey with sweet milk.
Right: Carrot cake. A bit dry but overall not bad.
I must say that I've been correctly accused of being too fancy on the blog. I think the South Bay is definitely developing it's restaurant and night life scene, steering away from the once family oriented chain restaurants. However, we must remember that there is a large portion of lower income households with busy parents needing to feed their family with as affordable and healthy foods as possible. I recognize that this is a chain restaurant, but like I said, we must be mindful that not everyone has the time or money to be a foodie. At Noodles, you get large portions at low prices, and can customize your order to your liking. They have vegetarian gluten free options as well. The best part is that you don't have to tip! I hope you enjoyed this introduction to a new restaurant in the South Bay.
As a thanks for reading, I am raffling coupons for a free entree at Noodles and Company. See my Facebook posting for details on how to enter. Four winners will be drawn on 4/11.
*Disclaimer: Noodles and Company invited me to their grand opening and the meal and coupons were compensated by the company. The reviews and opinions expressed in this post are my own.