Noodles and Company – Albany, NY
I don’t eat a lot of noodles or pasta even, but occasionally, the craving is there. Usually I go for something Asian influenced like a Pad Thai or cold sesame noodles. In case you didn’t know, there’s a place where every single person you know who happens to be in the mood for any kind of noodle dish they can dream up can go.
Noodles and Company is located at Crossgates Commons next to McDonalds and in front of Home Depot. Inside, the general feeling is simple, modern, not unlike Chipotle, maybe a little more wood.
In addition of noodle dishes from all over the world, there are salads, soups, sandwiches, and even flatbreads, but these items make up a very small percentage of the menu.
The day of my visit, I fell for their advertising and tried the Margherita Flatbread. The promotional posters looked really good, what can I say.
Dry. Scant. Flavorless. It had what looked like fresh basil and tomatoes, but you’d never know because they had literally no taste.
For lunch, I went with the Pad Thai and added grilled chicken
With a handful or so vegetables in the description of the dish, I expected a little more than the little shred of red cabbage you can see in the above image. This was a disappointment from top to bottom. Aside from missing just about everything in the description beside the noodles and severely overcooked scrambled egg, it was also lacking flavor. A nearby bottle of Sriracha made this edible, but at this point, I couldn’t see myself going back.
I had a plan in my back pocket in case lunch sucked.
I threw down $2 on a 540 calorie Rice Crispy. That thing was gigantic! I put it next to my iPod Classic for scale reference.
The Rice Krispy was actually pretty good. These are really difficult to mess up, though.
On my way out of the place, I wanted to get a peek at the back of the house just to try and understand how the operation is set up. I found it peculiar with the frequency of the orders that there was no steam coming from the burners in the kitchen. If you’re actually cooking noodles, you gotta have some steam. I suspect it’s some kind of par cooked thing they zap quickly for service.
Someone I worked with insists it’s the same brand that used to be located in Latham about 10 years back, Nothing but Noodles, based on the similarity in offerings. I tried to get info on this online but couldn’t come to that conclusion. I had to break it to him that if you’re going to open a noodle business, it’s pretty easy to fall into a similar menu situation.
For the price, there are much better places to get a bowl of pad Thai. Like anywhere else.