The Food Courtification of 101 Noodle Express is Complete
Back in July the Westside was cautiously optimistic extremely excited about the opening of 101 Noodle Express in the Fox Hills Mall (sic). The original branch has been on JGold’s essential restaurants list for 5 of the past 6 years, and to be able to get their beef rolls without driving to the SGV is good news for those of us who live and work west of La Cienega. Of course excitement quickly turned to indifference when the branch turned out to be less than essential. The beef rolls are there, and pretty delicious (if you’ve never had the original) but too much other food court nonsense (and a menu in obvious flux) kept anybody from declaring it a worthy replacement of the original.
Well, I was back at the mall again last week doing some holiday shopping and it looks like they have finally settled on a menu, and are offering 15% off to celebrate their official “Grand Opening”. The changes are shocking but inevitable in equal measure… and let’s just say, there’s good news, bad news and more good news.
First the good news. They finally started serving their Taiwanese style beef noodle soup. It’s a little on the bland side, and nobody will mistaken it for anything but fast food. But the thick slices of beef were all tendon-y and delicious, which I’m a big fan of. Not the best version ever, but for the Taiwanese deprived westside? It’s actually kind of nice.
They also got rid of the tasty but confusing french fries, and the worthless dumplings. Good riddance…
The bad news? They’ve replaced it with mall food court style teriyaki chicken. Huzzah!? You now have your choice between teppan chicken, or minced chicken served with rice and Sarku style Japanese food court vegetables. Or a combination of both. And all the meals have the option of adding two pieces of beef roll.
I was all prepared to moan about how terrible this new food courtified version of 101 Noodle Express is, but here’s the thing. For a food court lunch, it was all kind of delicious. The teppan chicken is better than the version you get at Sarku (the teppanyaki place that’s at every Westfield Mall food court), but the minced chicken is even better. And once you add the 2 pieces of beef roll, it’s kind of a home run. Did I mention the super combo with everything is only $7.99?
The same disclaimers are all there, of course. This place won’t be making any best of lists anytime soon. And 101 Noodle Express fanatics aren’t going to want to be taking the original address off their GPS address books just yet. But I am all about food court lunches (especially during holiday shopping time.) And this newly revamped menu has (easily) turned 101 Noodle Express into the best food court lunch in all of Los Angeles.
101 Noodle Express, 6000 Sepulveda Blvd in the food court of the Westfield Mall Culver City (fka The Fox Hills Mall)