A Restaurant Meal Experience.
A friend here in Pasadena and I were looking for some good cooking. It had to be a place where at least one of us had yet to visit & soup was on the menu.
Checked out Yelp and saw a 4/5 star review for the Noodle House in Monterey Park. Including 4 stars from one Yelper I tend to trust. Okay, that’s it. So, off we went south into Monterey Park for a late lunch.
Eating out: It’s an Adventure!
When we finally found the place just past 2pm last weekday afternoon, except for us, the restaurant was empty. Just a brunch of lifeless workers standing around. We gave them a wakeup call with our visit.
Their body language seem to say, “Who are you: people? C u s t o m e r s?!? Who let the customers in?!! Who, Who??!” I think we wooda received a more positive reaction had we told them we were with the government and we are here to help them – the county restaurant health inspectors.
NH is located in one of the many strip malls in the area. Alright, let’s skip the details and get down to the points and bottom line.
Our order: Shredded Chicken Noodle & Hot & Sour Soups. Tea, Cold Shredded Seaweed, and the Combination Seafood Dumplings.
Cold Shredded Seaweed: A nice portion. Enough for 2-3 people. Average.
Tea: your usual House Asian restaurant tea. Ok
Oh, uh, no photos this time…I was so disappointed with what we ordered I lost even the small amount of inspiration to wanna take some pics.
Hot & Sour Soup: Bland. Watery or Watered down. I’m not fond of HSS & this reaffirmed my opinion it. Probably was the worse I’ve ever had. (By coincidence, just the week before, my BFF and I had maybe the best HSS I ever tried at Newport Chinese Seafood in San Gabriel.) My companion could eat only 1/3 of this soup and left the rest- after craving for soup that day. “So So…” Poor.
Shredded Chicken Noodle Soup: Packed with noodles and mushrooms. Not much broth nor chicken. What broth there was seemed watery, unseasoned. Bland. I ate only about 20% of the it. Poor.
The table chili so common at Asian restaurants was very good. Yet even this couldn’t bring our soups to life. Good.
As we ate you could feel, and see, the occasional stares of the workers. You can only imagine what they may have been thinking as we ate their food.
Our Dumplings (Combination Seafood) came out last: steamed, smoking hot. The skin seemed a bit disheveled and fell apart too easily. Maybe a quick burst of reheating, overheating – or leftovers? Dunno. These didn’t seem fresh or made to order. Poor.
Prices as you can see above, average around $6 per food item and are in line with restaurants of this type in the San Gabriel Valley. Thus, while this is good, you much rather have what you’re putting into your stomach be the highlight of your meal than what’s being taken out of your wallet/purse.
Our meal. So disappointing from the opening moment, I was uninspired to even take photos. Yes, the food would have looked better than its taste. Barely. Our meal experience at Noodle House is in the minority. A matter of taste. Hopefully, (not for us) they just had an off day, the chef or other cook was sick, or just became lazy when it came to preparing our meal.
One meal. First impression, unfairly or not, often become the Final impression. We’ve both had more than our share of Asian cuisine. My very worthy dining companion had a group meal here in the past and liked it back then. This time the comment was: “So, so.” Times three. Let me finish what my restaurant companion started and really meant to say: “…bad.” This experience has prepared me for anything. Bloody sausage anyone?
Btw, I read on the Yelp website about the ownership changing this past January. This was from a person who previously rated it 5/5 stars but now his/her latest rating was down to 3/5 stars, i.e., Average.
Restaurants are a crazy biz. My companion & I both have restaurant biz experience from different angles. If our experience has actually become the norm for Noodle House, or their best days have passed them bye, then they should ask for assistance from a Chinese restaurant consultant to help in the kitchen and the dining room. They and any other business shouldn’t be satisfied with the status quo or being just average at best.
Too many more meals like this will lead me down the road to becoming a crazy dog. A sad, sad tail indeed.
Have you had a happy meal at the Noodle House?
Ok, enuf writing. Gotta go onto better things.