Noodles & Company
I have eaten at two different locations of this chain -- one in Wisconsin where I was travelling on business and one here in the Cincinnati area with my wife. I was favorably impressed. (http://www.noodles.com is the website.)
The concept is simple. Choose noodles, soup, or salad, either American, Asian, or Mediterranean. Add Meat or Tofu if you wish. Add soup or salad if you siwh. The food is made to order when you come to the counter. You go to your table with your beverage -- including wine or beer, should you choose -- and your food is brought to you. They clear the tables too. No tipping. Several dishes are available meatless, but you have the option of adding meat.
I had the Indonesian Peanut Saute (in WI) and the Japanese Pan Noodles with marinated steak (near home). My wife had the steak stroganoff. The dishes were well balanced; nothing overdone, nothing underdone. Expertly seasoned. Reasonably priced. And quite delicious.
We have put this on our "go to" list when out running errands or shopping. We'll be back.
I love them, and most of the things on their menu. Not a fan of the Mac and Cheese, but that's not why I visit. I like that I can get a variety of pasta dishes with plenty of fresh veggies, and that I can add/change the standard mix for each dish.
My favorite is the Pasta Fresca (penne, onion, tomato, spinach in with a balsamic/oil/wine/garlic sauce, topped with either parmesan or feta) and I always add mushrooms. I don't always get meat added, but when I do I enjoy the parmesan chicken.
When I'm ok with eating badly, I get the stroganoff with braised beef, although I heard they replaced it with a steak that's not as fall-apart tender. (Which is probably better for their sandwiches and such, but I won't enjoy as much for the pasta.)
I'm quite interested in this place. One opened not more than 100 yards from my office a few months ago, but I have yet to go. I've checked out the menu a couple times, and they are always busy during lunch time. Still haven't tried. I need to work it into my plans sometime in the next couple weeks.
I like Noodles & Co. a lot. I try to keep an eye on portion control when I eat out and their small portions really satisfy. I've tried almost everything, but I don't like the mac and cheese. My favorite item there is the tomato basil soup. For the price point the value is very good, I have never had anything there that wasn't fresh.