by Tom Sims
Tom Sims searches the Valley for tips on eating healthy, buying healthy food, growing healthy food, and eating out healthy in the Valley, for this Healthy Eating in the Valley column. Feel free to share your suggestions of places and things to check out!
IQ, Intelligence Quotient, is an important tool for measuring cognitive ability. EQ, Emotion Quotient, is a new device for measuring emotional health and capacity. However, to adequately measure the value of a noodle, one needs NQ and, more specifically, Noodle Q near the southeast corner of Fresno Street and Ashlan.
I seek out pho in any city where I am blessed to live. That is what Vietnamese people call a bowl of noodles. At Noodle Q, they simply call it, ‘noodles.’ I don’t care what anyone calls it, as long as it has an Asian theme, noodles, and broth. It is pho to me. It also helps to eat it with chopsticks. It helps even more if it can be served in a vegetable broth with no meat.
Noodle Q has learned to do it right, whether it is noodle soup, stir fried noodles, or dry noodles. They do it right by making some of the best noodles I have ever tasted. They serve them with or without meat or seafood. Of course, there are more items than noodles on the menu, but noodles are the mainstay. There is a full page of sushi options. And, there are rice dishes. The menu is pan-Asian with dishes that are Southeast Asian, Thai, Indonesian, and even Korean as well as Japanese and Chinese.
The owner, Jonathan Xu, opened for business 11 months ago at a location where there have been many restaurant failures. While some may have considered the central Fresno location too depressed for a thriving business, he saw the former pizza chain space ideal. Whatever the problem with the long succession of failures, be they a poor business plans, inadequate capital, inconsistent quality, or inadequate management, Noodle Q does not seem to be falling into the same pattern. All indicators point toward success.
The restaurant is never empty at meal time. The service is always friendly, prompt, and accurate. The food is always good. Plus, there are always many healthy options. More than all other factors, there is one major selling point. The noodles are made daily on site.
He is right.
“Our freshly made noodles are unlike anything you’ll find in the area. From Sichuan beef noodle soup to Japanese curry chicken and fresh sushi, you’re sure to find something to love on our menu. Take a seat, place your order, and watch us making the noodles from scratch in the kitchen.” You really can watch. A remnant of the old pizza place is the large glass window into the kitchen where you can observe the entire noodle making process. Nothing is hidden.
Over the last year, I have eaten at Noodle Q often and introduced a long succession of friends to the place. All have returned rave reviews and most have taken other people there. Not one to trust my own tastes and instincts alone, I found that confirming. Not one to just rely only on my friends, I also consulted all the major food review sites such as Yelp. Yelpers give Noodle Q their highest ratings and verbal praise.
I like the atmosphere. It is spacious and comfortable, bright, clean, and welcoming. I like the location. It is across the street from my office. It has ample parking. The bus stops near the shopping center. It is less than a half mile from 41, and it is at a major intersection.
I like the service. My usual waiter is a young Indonesian man named Jefry. That is the correct spelling. He always knows that I want water with no ice. He knows that I probably want veggie noodle soup with chopsticks and, after I eat, a take-home container. He also knows that I might want the veggie egg roll or sushi. He keeps track of me. That brings the point count very high.
Speaking of sushi, some items are vegetarian and some have fish, making them pescatarian. When I was eating meat, one of my favorites was bulgogi, a rather sweet, thin cut of beef that is cooked over an open fire. I remember it nearly melting in my mouth. It is on the menu at Noodle Q.
Appetizers include Chinese dumplings, spring rolls, scallion pancakes, soft shell crabs, and wontons. Beverages include Thai coffee and tea, not for the faint of heart nor for diabetics. Sushi can be ordered at the sushi bar or at the table. The menu is extensive, but not overwhelming.
Prices are likewise, not overwhelming. My favorite dish, the veggie noodle soup, feeds me for several meals for $6.95. Sushi rolls range from $4.75-$7.50 with special rolls going higher. It is very easy to find a number of options for less than $10, but it is also possible to pay up to $24 for a massive sashimi dinner. Catering prices are available by special quote, but I was able to feed an army one night for $50 and have lots of left-overs to send home with people from the meeting.
At Noodle Q, you can be as healthy as you like or you can indulge in a few naughty pleasures, but whatever your choices, you are likely to be satisfied.
2468 E Ashlan Avenue (@ Fresno Street)
Fresno, CA. 93726
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun 11:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.