Thursday, May 7, 2009

RESTAURANT: Noodles & Company


Noodles & Company

National Chain

Location We Visited:

South Boulder - 2850 Baseline - (303) 247 - 9978
Gluten-Free Options: The Pad Thai (without chicken), beef (braised and sauteed), shrimp, and cucumber tomato salad. Apparently it may be possible to get them to substitute rice noodles in other dishes, but we're not positive about that.

Total From A to Z: 2.5 Stars

A's Review: * * *
I was surprised when I heard that Noodles & Company had GF noodle dishes. The staff said there was only one dish they could guarantee, the Pad Thai, but it looks like you can substitute rice noodles in just about every dish. Z ordered chicken, which apparently is not GF, but this wasn't mentioned by the staff. We were lucky since Z can handle the occasional dose of gluten, but this would be unacceptable if someone were really sensitive. I would say check with the staff to make sure, but evidently this isn't even a certainty. The best bet is probably to explicitly ask about every single item in your dish and if they don't know or don't make you feel confidently, don't eat it.

Z's Review: * *
We have heard from a couple of different places (like Gluten Free Steve and that Noodles & Company might actually be quite accommodating to gluten-free guests (though other sources disagree, like Gluten Free in SD). To me, a chance to get quick, reliable, gluten-free noodles was worth a shot. However, our experience at the South Boulder Noodles & Company didn't turn out so well. At first they told us that most of the dishes could be made with rice noodles, which sounded great. Then they changed their minds and said that only the pad thai would be ok. So I ordered the pad thai with chicken breast. Now, to be fair, I don't remember if I specifically asked about the chicken breast. However, the staff was well aware that I was looking for a gluten-free option. When I went to write this post I did some research and discovered that the chicken breast at Noodles & Company is apparently not gluten-free. Luckily, I'm not celiac, so it didn't make me sick. While part of the blame might be on me for not checking more carefully, I thought it was handled pretty poorly by Noodles too, since they were aware that I was gluten-free.

UPDATE: The official stance on gluten-free dining at Noodles & Company can be found on their website, which says:
Currently, the only menu items that do not knowingly contain wheat/gluten are the Pad Thai, beef (braised and sautéed), shrimp and cucumber tomato salad. The noodles, sauces and preparation methods all contribute to the gluten content of our food and substituting rice noodles will not make a dish gluten-free.

We’ll try hard to accommodate your needs, but please consider that we do have wheat in our restaurant and we can’t guarantee no cross contact. We urge you to inform a manager of your needs every time you dine with us.
The lesson I learned? If you are really sensitive/concerned about gluten, you may need to do the research yourself before visiting a restaurant because unfortunately it seems you can't always depend on the staff to inform you properly. Either that or ask for a manager!

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