Disclaimer: The Wife and I ate at Noodles & Company for free and received two other free passes for food as well as two other giveaway items as part of a company sponsored promotion. Please take the following review/giveaway text with as much salt as you deem necessary following this government mandated disclosure.
ENTERING THE GIVEAWAY: Comment below for one entry, “like” and/or “share” on Facebook for up to two entries, and re-tweet on Twitter for another. A total of FOUR entries can be made per person by doing so. You’ll be in the running for two free Noodles & Company Summer Salads, a Noodles & Company branded wooden cutting board, and bag.
Last week while we were on vacation I received an e-mail from a local PR company helping Noodles & Company do a promotion for their “Summer Salads” offering. They asked if I would be interested in trying them out on Noodles. I replied that I would be happy to take four free passes (two for us and two for readers) and write about our experience here. When we arrived home I found a box on the doorstep which included the four passes as well as a Noodles & Company bag and small wooden cutting board. We used two of the passes and intend to give away the rest to one lucky reader who posts below.
It is no secret that I abhor Noodles & Company. Their generally awful offerings pander to the tastebuds of Americans who wouldn’t know it’s an abomination whenever they eat it at their favorite Americanized Thai restaurant (on a good day) and a complete and utter load of garbage when they eat it at a fast-casual chain restaurant which began in 1995 and spread like the plague across America appealing to every single family who pretends to love Asian food but is too scared to eat off a menu where they use ‘scary’ names and might be served by someone whose first language is not English. The only times we have eaten at Noodles & Company in the last 5+ years are when we get to do so for free–and yesterday was no different.
The freebie coupons were for one each of their new Summer Salad options:
- Backyard BBQ Chicken Salad
Pulled chicken breast with fresh-cut corn, roma tomatoes and red cabbage over mixed greens with a smoky coleslaw dressing
- Chili Lime and Ginger Salad with Seared Chicken
Mixed spring greens in sweet chili-lime ginger dressing with hand-cut mint, peanuts, crunchy wonton strips, rice noodles and seared chicken
- Spinach and Fresh Fruit Salad
Strawberries, pecans, bacon and blue cheese over spinach with balsamic fig drizzle
We ended up choosing the first two with The Wife noting that she didn’t much care for fruit on her salads regardless of dressing. Even though the BBQ Chicken Salad is geared towards the tastes of men according to Noodles’ PR, The Wife chose that one while I went with the Chili Lime Chicken. The obvious trend of men going with the BBQ Chicken Salad was evident when the server brought our meals to our table and expressed surprise when I grabbed the Chili Lime Chicken from across the table after the server set it down with The Wife instead of me.
Both the salads were extremely bright and fresh. While other restaurants seem to have a real problem delivering meals with red tomatoes, Noodles & Company definitely did not. The chicken on the Backyard BBQ Chicken Salad was abundant and the size of the salad was a good one. As a whole the salad was good, certainly better than their usual offerings but definitely not enough for me to go out of my way to eat there and definitely a departure from their traditional offerings. The Wife agreed with my assessment and said that she thought it was fine but definitely didn’t see it as something she’d want to order unless she was at Noodles & Company for some other reason.
The Chili Lime and Ginger Salad with Seared Chicken came as described but came with cilantro instead of mint. Described to me by the PR person as a deconstructed spring roll, they hit the mark there–a generally flavorless canvas which was better with some sort of accompaniment such as Sriracha. I got a very light hint of chili but absolutely no acid from the lime. The rice noodles were undercooked and were almost as crunchy as the wonton strips but the additional veggies (bell peppers, carrots, etc) were a nice touch and worked well once I kicked it up to something acceptable with a good bit of chili sauce. The Wife noted that it was more in line with Noodles’ other offerings (being that it had noodles and an Asian theme) but it still wasn’t enough to draw us in when there are so many other fantastic Asian restaurants in town–especially across the street at Satay2Go. That said, I would eat it again if I was in the mood to spent $8 for a salad, something I never am.
The third salad, which we did not get an opportunity to try, is apparently America’s favorite but definitely doesn’t do it for either of us.
Overall, while both of the salads we tried for free were fine, they are $8 salads at a restaurant which we just don’t frequent. However, if you’re a big Noodles & Company fan and are looking for something a little different than their usual offerings, these might be for you. Of the two we had today, I would definitely rank the Backyard BBQ Chicken Salad as the best and the Chili Lime as something I would only get if I didn’t care for the other options or was trying to stick to the Asian theme.
Have you had Noodles & Company’s Summer Salads? If so what did you think? Which one did you like best? Do you think Noodles & Company is worth a visit when there are other decent Asian restaurants in town? What do you normally order when you go there? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on below to get entered into the contest. You can also “like” the link and/or “share” it on Facebook and RT (retweet) it on Twitter for additional entries (up to four possible!) So go ahead and get those done and good luck!