POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 29, 2010:
Oodles of Noodles
Find fun twists on classic dishes at this Riverside restaurant
Rebekah Ann Peyravy and her mom, Juliana, have owned More Than Noodles since 2008, and are constantly trying new recipes, ideas, and concepts, whether from their own imaginations or that of their customers.
You absolutely can't walk in the door without feeling like you are the most-favorite customer they have ever welcomed into their restaurant. Located at 9635 Riverside Parkway, it's just across the street from the east end of the Jenks bridge.
Rebekah, who serves as the "front woman" most of the times we have been there, is exotically beautiful, both inside and out, and seems to be there, well, all the time, kidding with customers, keeping the small staff going and making sure everyone has a first rate experience. You can't teach that type of customer service and skill. It has to be there to begin with, and for these gals it is.
As you walk in, you are overwhelmed by a huge menu board, with a variety of noodle (and non-noodle) dishes from several nations. I don't know exactly why, but the first time I entered, I expected an Asian menu, and while there is a section of dishes including Pad Thai, Spicy Udon Noodles (sugar/lime soy glaze with fresh broccoli, mushrooms, carrots and bean sprouts), Sesame Lo Mein and a Thai Peanut Noodle bowl, it was a lot more extensive than that.
The Italian section is actually the largest, with a pesto pasta tossed with tomatoes, cream, mushrooms and fresh basil, a Margerita pasta bowl with farfelli, tomatoes, fresh garlic and basil, red pepper flakes and extra virgin olive oil. There are the obligatory dishes, like pasta marinara and pasta primavera, and the dish that Rebekah claims is probably their most popular, Three Cheese Macaroni and Cheese: fusilli pasta with a three cheese sauce and topped with cheddar and jack cheese for an honest to goodness cheese overload. Scampi pasta and Santa Fe pasta dishes round out the section. The Santa Fe sounded interesting with a green chili cream, onions, tomatoes and fresh Parmesan, but I was in an Asian mood this night.
Pasta comes in many varieties, and its nice to see something other than the standard penne and spaghetti selections. There are literally hundreds of shapes and sizes available, most originating in Italy. Everything from strand pasta, to soup pasta, to ribbon and extruded shapes, tube pastas and stuffed, plus Asian, and more are available to the American diner, yet we seem to fall back on the same 8 or 10 standards for the most part in this country. Somehow eating a bow tie shaped noodle, or another fanciful shape brings out the kid in many of us. My wife is constantly telling me to "stop playing with your food and eat your supper Joe." No mercy!
The menu has a very nice, and very popular selection of fresh, creative salads. Katie and I split an Apple/Balsamic/Spinach Salad with walnuts, Granny Smiths, and a tart balsamic dressing, while we waited for our noodle bowls.
Another favorite we have had on past visits is the Greek Salad. A combination of farfelli pasta, greens, tomatoes, kalamata olives, red onions, and feta crumbles in a Greek style dressing. These salads work well as an entrée, or shared as a first course for two.
It's either a commentary on the way we as Americans take things on as our own, or a bit of confusion on the part of whomever wrote the menu, but the American section of the menu included a stroganoff, originally a classic Russian dish named after Count Stroganoff. (The French tend to name their dishes after the chef who created them, the Russians tend to name them after the household it was created for, since their chefs were usually mere servants.) According to the undisputed king of culinary bibles, Larousse Gastronomique, the dish harkens back to at least mid-1800s Russia.
A Cajun pasta bowl is inarguably American, and the Chipotle pasta, a roasted red pepper and chipotle cream sauce over pasta, has its roots in South America so it technically qualifies as American as well.
The chipotle pepper is actually associated with jalapeno chilis, but can in fact be any smoke-dried capsicum pepper. So essentially, we are talking about a smoked hot pepper, often sold canned in a tomato based sauce to reconstitute them for use. A chipotle is hot enough to "set you free", but has the added characteristic of adding a great smoky and earthy flavor to dishes. You get more than just the heat for your money: something they call a lagniappe in 'Nawlins.
Low carb and kids sections are an added feature as well.
More Than Noodles has a nice selection of gelato and sorbetto too. Gelato is essentially Italy's ice cream, with a few differences. Gelato has a lower fat content than ice cream, and so from that standpoint is a bit healthier. Ice cream is whipped in a sense, or at least has air folded into it. Gelato does not, so the result is a denser and seemingly richer product. Generally it is served a bit warmer as well, since a below zero holding temperature would generally make it so hard that every gelato scooper in the world would have carpal tunnel within a week! Additionally it gives it a creamier mouth feel. Chocolate Hazelnut, Tahitian Vanilla Bean, Pistacio Nut and Dulce de Leche are a few of the interesting gelato offerings.
A sorbet or sorbetto, has no dairy or eggs, relying on fruit and sugar to carry it. This makes them essentially fat free and fruitier. Rebekah and her mom offer some interesting flavors, including: Sonoma Strawberry, Wild Mountain Blueberry and Habana Mojito. A mojito is a Cuban cocktail of citrus, rum and sugar, so draw your own conclusions.
This is an ultra-casual, almost utilitarian restaurant atmosphere. It's 85 percent self service with walk up ordering, although they do bring your food out to you. Everything else is pretty much on you, but it's a great place for a quick and filling meal after a long bike ride or a hard day of "honey-dos" when getting dressed up and going out to dinner sounds like a lot of effort.
Prices are very reasonable with starters like cucumber salad or garlic bread sticks under $3, pot stickers and Thai lettuce wraps in the $5-$6 range, soups and entrée salads from $3-$5.50, and almost all the pasta bowls coming in at a whopping $7.99 except for Stroganoff at $8.99 and Scampi at around ten bucks.
It's locally owned and a really friendly place.
More Than Noodles
9635 Riverside Parkway
URL for this story: http://www.urbantulsa.comhttp://www.urbantulsa.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A32532