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Review: Oodles Noodles & Dumpling Bar

 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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