My dining companion and I were seeking shelter and sustenance during the cold, blustery first snow day of the season. We ducked into Noodle Zoo in the East Village and found everything we wanted.
The inside of the restaurant was cozy and charming with soft lighting, painted floors and umbrella tables. Christmas decorations were being put up, fitting right in with the blowing snow outdoors.
I had visited Noodle Zoo before when it had a West Des Moines location and knew I would be having a tasty lunch. My companion and I studied the menu while we waited our turn in line.
Besides offering a half-dozen noodle bowls, Noodle Zoo also offers a variety of sandwiches, salads and soups, plus cupcakes and cookies on display at the front counter to tempt your sweet tooth.
My companion ordered the pesto shrimp pasta noodle bowl ($11.95). I chose the sandwich special of the day, New York steak. I decided to try my luck and ordered beer cheese soup as my side.
You see, I’ve had some bad experiences with that popular soup. Sometimes it’s been as thick as wallpaper paste. Sometimes it’s tasted of cheap beer, sometimes of chemically produced cheese. I needn’t have worried here.
Noodle Zoo’s version was a cream soup that tasted of chicken stock, mellow beer and real cheese. It was hot and comforting. The sandwich was served on a marbled hoagie bun and was full of thinly sliced, seasoned steak, grilled red peppers, onions and provolone cheese. It was a satisfying lunch.
My companion had penne pasta with plenty of vegetables and large shrimp served in a tomato cream sauce. It was accompanied by a serving of the house salad and a wedge of foccacia bread.
I’m looking forward to another winter visit to the East Village for lunch at Noodle Zoo.
601 East Locust St.
Hours: Mon. – Sat.
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.