Review: The Med Duo from Noodles & Company

I love the fast casual craze that started in the 90’s. It has proven that fast food doesn’t have to be a low quality, haphazardly strewn together afterthought. Whether it’s the burgers from Five Guys, or the burritos from Chipotle, I’m in food heaven. Noodles & Company has always made me scratch my head though. The ingredients and ambiance are great, but the food has never blown me away. In this day and age, I demand to be “WOWED”. Noodles & Co has just been decent. On a recent visit I noticed they now serve sandwiches. That seemed perfect for a review, so I decided to give Noodles & Co one more chance to win me over with The Med flatbread sandwich and Cucumber Tomato Salad.

While I have never considered myself to be a masochist, this review clearly shows me that I’m a glutton for punishment. Yes, this is the most obvious foreshadowing ever.  All the sandwiches come in “Duo” form, so you are forced to get a soup or salad to go with your sandwich. My guess is they try shove as much food into your gullet as possible so you won’t notice any of the dishes individual faults. Well played Noodles & Co.  Don’t get me wrong though, I was looking forward to my meal and I went with what spoke to me right off the bat; The Med Duo seemed like a no-brainer.

The Cucumber Tomato Salad is described like this:

Cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onions in our Asian dressing

I love salads that consist of non-leafy produce, and cucumber tomato is one of my favorites. I noticed the salad was pre-made, so for a split second I was worried the salad would be a pickled mess. Then I realized that I love pickles and became pretty excited about what I was about to eat.  This salad was super fresh. So fresh that the tomatoes were unripe and the root was still connected to a giant hunk of red onion. The Asian dressing tasted like unsweetened, ginger flavored Kool-Aid. The Cucumber Tomato Salad was a bunch of butchered, underseasoned, unripe veggies in a pool of red water.  Yay… A semi-retarded monkey could make a decent cucumber tomato salad with ease.  Salt, pepper, vinegar, oil, and vegetables not prepared by Hellen Keller is all you need for a refreshing summer treat. After three bites I threw it in the trash. Nice start Noodles & Co.

The Med sandwich is described like this:

Chicken, mushrooms, spinach, red bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, Zippy Med Dressing, cilantro and feta on flatbread.

That sounds delicious, although once again, Noodles & Co failed me. Instantly I noticed my sandwich was missing a couple of things. No cilantro and no “Zippy Med Dressing”. I did see something for the first time ever though, and that was the cucumber was cooked with the rest of the veggies. The flatbread had no char or browning and tasted like uncooked flour. Once again everything was underseasoned and the chicken may have well been boiled. A dry, bland mess of what could have been great. Drowning The Med in Sriracha made it edible, so at least I didn’t go hungry. This was plain awful.

When I first started cooking I learned that every customer should be treated like a food critic or hell, even the Queen of England. When a server tells us we have a “special guest”, we roll our eyes and cook them the same awesome food we serve every patron. I however was treated like a homeless person begging for a handout. The Mushroom Stroganoff and Wisconsin Mac and Cheese are OK, but this might have sealed the deal that I will never eat at Noodles & Co again. They “WOWED” me for sure, but not in the way either of us had hoped.

Pros: Cock sauce/Sriracha(Get your head out of the gutter!). That's it.

Cons: I paid for this. Chef Hellen Keller. Teasing me with amazing sounding food and serving me the opposite. Unripe tomatoes. Cooked cucumber. Noodles & Company.

Taste: Cucumber and Tomato salad 1.00, The Med Sandwich 2.00
Value: 1.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.00/10
Price: $6.00

Overall GrubGrade: 1.00/10

More Info:
Nutrition Facts:
The Med
330 calories, 10g fat, 2g saturated fat, 30mg cholesterol, 970mg sodium, 41g carbs, 2g fiber, 4g sugars, 20g protein
Cucumber Tomato Salad
110 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 920mg sodium, 24g carbs, 2g fiber, 18g sugars, 1g protein

27 comments on “Review: The Med Duo from Noodles & Company

  1. ImNotACat says:

    Only went once before, found it pretty good. I had the Indonesian Peanut Saute w/ chicken on it. You have to kinda dig in and get to sauce at the bottom of your plate (for some reason, that’s how mine was served to me), but after mixing, everything tasted great! Chicken was made well and hot, sauce was good, good noodles, etc etc etc…woulda preferred some of the veggies stir-fried with it probably, but they did provide good contrast raw I guess.

  2. SkippyMom says:

    If “Five Guys” is your is benchmark for being wowed by a chain then I am not surprised Noodles & Co. let you down.

    As for tomatoes [I would’ve loved that salad, but….] I haven’t bought a tomato in 15 years that tastes like anything but paste. So I don’t expect a chain restaurant to have anything more. That would’ve been a failure before ordering. Only locally grown or your own garden are going to make that salad.

    Sorry you had such a disappointing experience, but thanks for the heads up.

    • Chefprotoss or dan says:

      For fast casual, yeah five guys and chipotle set the bar in my opinion. I would recomend anything over this though. A bean burrito from taco bell is a six out of ten imo. Now imagine it was prepaired inside out and they forgot the cheese. 1/10 no matter who you are. I did a lot of research on Noodles while writing this review and all over the country they have serious consistancy issues.

      Those tomatoes were green. I would rather they 86 the item and have to choose something else than eat this. Transparency is a really good thing for any restaurant.

  3. mrvjtod says:

    only duo? that is unfortunate. do they require you to get a drink, too?

  4. Jade says:

    Uh, what’s with the references to ‘semi-retarded’ monkeys and Helen Keller? A review seasoned with ableism is wholly unpalatable. Kids in middle school know better than to use the r-word nowadays.

  5. Jade says:

    The food looks pretty nasty, though. Cooked cucumber was popular in the 1700s, but there’s a reason it hasn’t come back into fashion.

  6. It isn’t every day you hear Noodles & Co. and Hellen Keller mentioned in the same breath. Well played.

  7. @graciHas says:

    I wouldn’t expect much from a sandwich if it’s from a place that specializes in noodles

  8. Carl says:

    I used to work at Noodles. The pasta dishes range from okay to pretty tasty. The potstickers are good. There really isn’t much care put into the salads, sandwiches, bread, etc. The people that make the salads are just the kids working the cash register/doing every other job.

  9. Carl says:

    And yes, lots and lots of consistency issues.

  10. Weezee says:

    Why was Helen Keller such a bad driver?

    Because she was a woman.

  11. Doug says:

    I’ve had good luck at the Noodles and Co. in my area. The quality of those offerings seems indicative of a chain restaurant with bad management – it just trickles down to the hiring choices and the pride people take in their work. The spicy chicken caesar duo with tomato basil soup was excellent and the cheesesteak was surprisingly good as well.

  12. Chefprotoss or dan says:

    Considering my last reply went over your head, and also I’m sure my extremely sarcastic second one will do the same, and we could easily go back and fourth for a week, which would amuse me greatly, this however is not a forum on civil rights issues. Of course I would never tell a black or gay joke on this site. I do however know some great gay jokes. I learned them from gay people. I spend much of my time doing what I can to advance civil rights. My girlfriend is President of our local gay pride chapter and we just held an event with the Obama administration a couple weeks ago. My point is that you are preaching to the choir and the choir doesn’t care. If you can’t laugh at yourself, what can you laugh at? I believe in the context of humor, everything is fair game. I also have no desire to pepper my reviews here with smut. However I do know that when you tell even the most mild of joke, you are bound to offend someone. That’s just life and I accept it.

  13. Carl says:

    So, Helen Keller walks into a bar. . .

  14. Jen says:

    To be fair, you went to Noodles & Co. and got a sandwich. It’s like going to McDonald’s and being surprised that the salad wasn’t very good. Stick to the noodles. It’s what they do best.

  15. Chefprotoss or dan says:

    How is that being fair? Their slogan is pasta, salads and sandwiches. They didn’t even include half the ingredients in my sandwich. I should have known better? Pfft.

    The salads at mcdonalds aren’t half bad either. Dare I say they are pretty good.

    I fail to see your point.

  16. Aimee says:

    Almost 1000mg of sodium FOR A FRICKING SALAD. Enough said.

  17. jesika lin says:

    im so sorry your noods has really let you down. ours is always good. the penne rosa is ALWAYS amazing no matter which store i go to. i sometimes get one of the asian dishes but they can be a little less flavorful and saucy than id like. that really blows. im not surprised you wont go back, ive had experiences like that before. that being said, im going to chipotle right this minute.

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