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Review: Oodles Noodles & Dumpling Bar

Morgan Kelley Morgan Kelley Review: Oodles Noodles & Dumpling Bar
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If you’re Downtown, where do you go when you’ve got a craving for Chinese food? When I ask people that question, they generally point me toward Grandview Heights or the University District. I recently heard someone mention Oodles on Main Street (next door to Indian Oven) and realized that I had long forgotten that this restaurant even existed in that hidden-in-plain-sight location. Tasked with the mission of trying it out and reporting my findings, I set off quickly to see what this place has to offer.

I decided to start things off with some of the namesake dumplings ($5.50 for 6, $3.50 for 3). They’re available steamed or fried and can contain chicken, pork or vegetables. I ordered three fried pork dumplings to try out, and found them to be pretty on par with any other potstickers ordered as chinese takeout anywhere else. I’m not sure if the dumplings at Oodles are made fresh or if they’re pre-packaged and frozen, but my guess would be the latter. There’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s what you’re expecting, and for the low price, they were fine as is.

I also ordered some spring rolls (2 for $3.50) from the “easy eat” section of the menu (appetizers), which contained pork and cabbage. Once again, pretty standard fare. Nothing special, but nothing bad either. They will satisfy your craving, but nothing more.

Moving on to the entree portion of the menu, I started out with an order of the Thai Peanut Noodles ($6.75 with Chicken). These were wide wheat noodles stir-fried with green onions, carrots and mushrooms in what the menu described as a coconut-peanut sauce, though all I could taste was peanut. The sauce was too thick, which made the dish a bit gummy, and the heavy handed peanut flavor completely dominated everything else. To top it all off, a half a can of planters peanuts are dumped on top of this entree before serving it. If you absolutely love peanuts, you’re in heaven here. If you merely like peanuts like myself, you’re probably going to just feel overwhelmed with them. This dish was also listed as being spicy, but there was only a mild amount of heat to be detected and no visible peppers in the dish.

Next up I tried out the Singapore Noodles ($7.45) which includes very thin rice noodles stir-fried with chicken, shrimp, onions and bean sprouts in a yellow curry sauce. Aside from the stir-fry preparation, the flavors of this dish more closely resembled something you’d find next door at Indian Oven. Which was not a bad thing at all, as it was well prepared. My only complaint is that the shrimp were somewhat small and I only counted four of them in the entire entree. Overall though, a great dish for the price.

Last but not least, I decided to go with a traditional Chinese-American dish: Sesame Chicken ($6.75) which includes fried chicken bites tossed in a sweet brown sauce, topped with sesame seeds and served with a side of rice. Once again, this dish delivered exactly as promised without fanfare or disappointment. All flavors were very standard… almost to the point where I’d consider this to be “comfort food” moreso than anything ethnic. Which is a good thing if you’re looking to play it safe.

By this point you probably get the idea that Oodles is a pretty standard place for traditional Chinese takeout. Their store is cute, and their branding is unique, but the menu takes absolutely no chances. If you want a special experience, you won’t find it here. If you’re looking for affordable staples like Phad Thai or General Tso’s Chicken within close proximity to Downtown, then you’ve come to the right place.

Oodles is located at 443 East Main Street in Downtown Columbus. They’re open for lunch and dinner from 11:00am to 8:00pm, Monday through Friday. More information can be found online at www.gooodles.com.

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21 Responses to Review: Oodles Noodles & Dumpling Bar

  1. Kardashalistic January 25, 2012 8:51 am at 8:51 am

    You must have caught them on a good day or something.  I tried this place twice and both times it had to have been the worst chinese food I have experienced in Columbus.  Next time you’re in the area you may want to check out Indian Oven instead.

  2. lifeliberty
    lifeliberty January 25, 2012 9:48 am at 9:48 am

    fyi, other Asian food around Capitol Square:

    Ho Toy                    (State and High)
    Saigon Palace         (Front and Long)
    Lee’s china Kitchen (65 E State St-Inside Capitol Square Plaza)
    Fresh 50                 (High and gay)
    Tai Lotus                 (Lynn and Pearl alley

  3. billiejean
    billiejean January 25, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am

    New Chopsticks has to be the best authentic/cheap take out place in Columbus (coming from an Asian).  Oodles is terrible… it’s like the Mcdonalds of Chinese food x.X

  4. mrpoppinzs January 25, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am

    An odd chain type place to review. It is like reviewing a mark pi’s or a Panda Express, there are far better places to go if you are looking for chinese food.

  5. Walker Evans
    Walker January 25, 2012 2:06 pm at 2:06 pm

    Mr. Poppinzs – Are you confusing this place with Noodles & Company? That’s a national chain:

    http://www.noodles.com/locations/

    Oodles only has 2 locations, both in Columbus:

    http://www.gooodles.com/location.html

  6. Campbell January 25, 2012 2:09 pm at 2:09 pm

    This review reads like it was ripped right from the C Magazine archives as well.

  7. mrpoppinzs January 25, 2012 4:37 pm at 4:37 pm

    Walker asks:
    “Mr. Poppinzs – Are you confusing this place with Noodles & Company? That’s a national chain”

    No, I am comparing it to another locally started chinese fast food chain – Mark Pi’s. Oodles is obviously set up under a ‘chain’ business model.

    http://www.markpi.com/history.htm

    I came to America because my cousin said there were opportunities unlike any known in Taiwan or Korea . My dream was to own a restaurant, but after I came to Chicago and saw (chains) with thousands of restaurants under the same name, I believed there were possibilities to make Chinese dining available on a big scale…” – Mark Pi

  8. tolemac5050
    tolemac5050 January 25, 2012 6:13 pm at 6:13 pm

    Anyone tried Kogen’s in Powell??….Run by Mark Pi Jr.

  9. Walker Evans
    Walker January 25, 2012 8:34 pm at 8:34 pm

    I actually stopped in Kogens maybe two months ago on a whim. It wasn’t bad. I probably wouldn’t go way out of my way for it, but thought it was a decent enough lunch option while in the area.

  10. irresistiblue January 26, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am

    My last experience with Oodles I was served food with teflon flakes that had somehow separated from the pan.  Aside from the food tasting awful, I can’t imagine that it was good for my health.  When I politely asked if I could have it remade, sans teflon flakes, the uninterested college-looking employee refused to do so. He also refused a refund, and when I asked for the manager, he refused to give me any further information.

    I’m a huge supporter of local companies, but this restaurant chain doesn’t deserve any patronage given such lackluster customer service.

  11. Twixlen January 26, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am

    I used to go to the Oodles on Neil quite a bit. I think the absolute best thing on the menu are the soupy udon noodles – it’s a shame those didn’t get a test-run.

    I think I stopped going because I have to do take out for lunch, and it just seemed sloooow to get food there. Even if I called in, I had to wait.

    I might have to give them another shot though – soupy noodles are pretty much my favorite.

  12. melikecheese
    melikecheese January 26, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am

    I’ll never understand the large amount of hate for this place, I mean it’s not the best noodles in the world, but Columbus is also severally lacking any real dedicated noodle house.  The closest thing we have is the Pho place in the old taco bell on…the road that is slipping my mind by campus and the campus farm.  With such a huge Asian minority population this always surprised me.
    They have 2 locations and are still in business after a few years, so someone has to be eating it at least, maybe someone could open a better noodle shop and offer it a reason to improve.
    @irresistiblue – I would have looked that person in the eyes, lifted up my food, slowly turned it over and spilled it all over the floor and said, “opps, I guess you’ll have to clean that up.”  That was terrible customer service.

  13. SusanB
    SusanB January 26, 2012 1:47 pm at 1:47 pm

    I have always had great service and pretty good food from the Main St. location. But then again I always order the “healthy” steamed stuff with brown rice. Not amazing but waaay better than the Happy Drag Queen. They also if asked will do vegan broth for any of the soup/noodle dishes.

  14. Twixlen January 26, 2012 3:51 pm at 3:51 pm

    @melikecheese – Mi Li, Huong, Buckeye Pho, Akai Hana, Section 8 Yakirorium, Kihachi, Tensuke… all doing noodles… all better than that joint on Lane Ave.

  15. j mcclane
    j mcclane January 26, 2012 3:59 pm at 3:59 pm

    @lifeliberty – you point out saigon palace, a deliciously slept on vietnamese/chinese place downtown.  sadly, they locked their doors up at least a month or two ago… had my favorite pad thai, general tsos, maybe pho in the city.  wish i knew if the proprietors have anything else going on.

  16. billiejean
    billiejean January 26, 2012 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm

    @Twixlen – I respectfully disagree.  While, granted Pho House on Lane isn’t owned and operated by Vietnamese people (they’re Chinese), it certainly serves decent pho in my opinion.  Really the only terrible Pho place I’ve had in Columbus is Yao’s.  Their other food isn’t that bad.
    However, Yao’s Pho is just dreadfully overpriced and awful.
    @Walker – I got what mrpoppinzs was trying to compare.  They may not be a national chain but they have seemed to modeled themselves after Panda Express.

  17. billiejean
    billiejean January 26, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm

    Oh and I think we really need a specialty ramen shop in Cbus.  I know Akai Hana does ramen, but like a ramen shop that does mainly just ramen varities :D

  18. melikecheese
    melikecheese January 27, 2012 8:36 am at 8:36 am

    Yes, lots of places have noodles, but no places focus and specialize in noodles.  And yes I think that Pho House does make some great noodle soups.

  19. Graybeak
    Graybeak January 27, 2012 9:42 am at 9:42 am

    well, editing a comment turns out very interesting. What I said though, was:
    All the talk of Chinese fare in the Downtown area has sort of glossed over The Happy Dragon on Livingston (other than one very tacky reference). And, they deliver downtown!

  20. billiejean
    billiejean January 28, 2012 1:41 pm at 1:41 pm

    Happy Dragon’s food is fantastic.  I am biased however as the owner’s son is one of my good friends.

  21. lilbit
    lilbit January 28, 2012 6:26 pm at 6:26 pm

    Sorry, but the Happy Dragon is not great. I recently visited after 5+ years to see if their kitchen had improved any in that time….sadly, it hadn’t.

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