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Phantom Gourmet: Noodles & Company

SHREWSBURY - Egg Noodles. Rice Noodles. Spaghetti. Udon. No matter what kind of pasta you prefer, you can bet they have it at Noodles & Company. With locations in Burlington, Nashua and Shrewsbury, this fast-growing national chain serves piping hot plates of pasta to order.

"Noodles and Company is a place to come in and get dishes from all over the world," said General Manager Peter Croteau. "We really like to call ourselves 'Your World Kitchen' because you can get dishes from anywhere around the world. You can get Asian inspired dishes, American style dishes or Meditteranian style dishes."

It's all done fresh and in a matter of minutes, according to local owner, Mike Hamra.

"When you come and you order something off the menu, we make it right there in the moment for you. We really cater to people that are looking for a quick meal, so from the time you order to the time you sit down, you should have your meal sitting on your table in five minutes. "

All of this quick cuisine happens back in their busy open kitchen, where something is always sautéing.

"It is a similar to like an organized chaos, where you know what you're doing, but you're working so fast it just comes naturally. You're scooping sauces into the dishes; you're adding stuff in and it's just second nature to what you're doing," explained Croteau.

In the middle all of that craziness, plates of plentiful pasta are prepared. There's heart-warming macaroni smothered in a creamy, steamy blend of cheddar and jack cheeses, and simple but satisfying bowls of classic buttered noodles. But for something heartier, sink your spoon into the sumptuous Steak Stroganoff.

"It's a very, very rich dish with that sherry wine sauce that we put on it, and then we add our roasted garlic mushrooms in it and our sautéed steak and top that off with the sauce," described Croteau. "It's amazing."

Noodles and Company, Phantom Gourmet
The Steak Stroganoff at Noodles & Company (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Of course, Noodles and Company offers plenty of Italian as well. There's the light, yet filling Pasta Fresca with fresh tomato and spinach tossed in a balsamic sauce. The Penne Rosa comes in a creamy tomato sauce and can be upgraded by adding chicken. The Spaghetti and Meatballs are not only nostalgic, they're pretty tasty too.

"When you're at home as a kid you always have spaghetti and meatballs," Croteau said. "I know growing up being Italian, I can go home every single night and my grandfather probably has some spaghetti and meatballs on the table waiting for me. But, I got to say, my grandfather makes some good meatballs, they're not as good as what we've got here. I brought him here to try them and he's like, 'you know, these are pretty good.'"

Noodles and Company, Phantom Gourmet
The Pad Thai at Noodles & Company (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Asian noodles come in all forms, like traditional Pad Thai and big bowls of Japanese Udon with shrimp tossed in a sweet soy sauce and sprinkled with black sesame seeds. The Thai Hot Pot is loaded up with rice noodles, chicken, pork and vegetables all swimming in a curry broth spiked with Fresno peppers for some heat.

"When the Fresno peppers go into the curry soup broth it kind of soaks up all the juices from the pepper to make the whole pot nice and spicy for you."

Noodles and Company, Phantom Gourmet
The Thai Hot Pot at Noodles & Company (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

If you really want to light up your palate, dig into the Indonesian Peanut Sauté.

"Does it taste like peanut butter like you're sticking a peanut butter in your mouth? No, but do you have that smell, that aroma, that kind of texture to it, that stickiness? Yes, it does," Croteau described. "The spice in the Indonesia peanut sauté, it doesn't compare to any other dish that we have. It is by far our spiciest dish."

While noodles are their specialty, they're not the only things on the menu. There's the Med Salad loaded up with grilled chicken and feta on a bed of romaine with some cavatappi thrown in for good measure, and the BBQ Pork Sandwich that's slow braised so it's super juicy every time.

"I think it's a succulent sandwich. It's hearty, but at the same time it's got a lot of flavoring to it," said Hamra.

"We cook it slowly so that we get all the flavors to stay in there," explained Croteau. "We don't want to cook it too much and dry it out. We want it to stay nice and moist and great for the guest to have. It is delicious"

With everything on the menu priced well under ten bucks, deciding to dine here means you're definitely using your noodle.

Locally, you can find Noodles & Company locations in Burlington, Shrewsbury and Nashua, and online at

Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.


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