When trying to think of the best restaurant to review for my first entry, I wanted to make sure it was a place completely new to me – you know, for optimal reviewing and stuff. Noodles & Company (which probably spent millions of dollars on the domain name noodles.com) recently opened its big red doors to Pittsburgh’s ever-growing Market Square lineup of upper-middle-class lunch options, and the reception has been really positive. My coworkers have swooned over the place for weeks.
The dining room is pretty spacious and modern looking. The tables and chairs were clean and inviting. But since I took a late lunch today (around 3:00), I think I may have interrupted their “down time”. The cashier was clearly pissed that she was still at work and barely spoke to me throughout my transaction. Her eyes, the few times she looked at me, screamed “OH, YOU WANT NOODLES TOO? DOESN’T EVERYBODY?! GET OUT”. Regardless, I ordered buttered noodles, a side salad and a fountain drink.
Buttered noodles; a cornerstone of my nutrition since preschool. This version comes with “Italian seasonings” and Parmesan cheese. You may criticize me for not ordering a more unique dish; you’re probably right. Noodles & Co. has dozens of noodle-y options ranging from pad thai to pesto cavatappi. Maybe those dishes are better than what I had.
IMO, and as you can probably tell by this picture, there was too much seasoning.
Needs less green stuff and MORE BUTTER. But still tasty. The cheese was a nice touch. The noodles themselves were a little tough, which was disappointing. The “regular” size is ooookaaaayyy, for like $6.
The side salad had an awesome peanut-soy-thai-buzzword dressing that will be haunting my dreams…mmm…oh, I can almost taste it right now…
And let’s not forget the main attraction: crazy soda machine!
Trying to operate this machine makes anyone look like their own grandmother trying to play Playstation. So I didn’t spend a lot of time perusing the different soda options. But they have like EVERY flavor of Fanta, including raspberry. Totally won me over, though the cups they use for their fountain drinks aren’t disposable, so you can’t take them to-go. Bummer.
The coolest thing about Noodles & Co. is the service setup. Placing your order is entirely fast-food oriented, but your food is brought out to your table AND you don’t have to clean up after yourself. All of the staff members that weren’t that one bitchy cashier were super friendly and helpful, so kudos to those people.
Overall, since I don’t have a better rating system yet, I’ll go ahead and give Noodles & Company a 6.5/10 rating. A little better than “okay”, but not somewhere I’d go to treat myself or anything. Maybe next time I’ll try a dish that couldn’t be made by a 5-year-old.