An elegant accoutrement of seaweed, ginger and fried parsnip stacked on the edge of a square ceramic plate is hardly what you expect when it comes to food court fare, but that's just what you get from a James Beard award-winning chef who sets up shop in the Macy's shopping mall. Bringing Japanese street food to the masses, Takashi Yagihashi (of Ambria acclaim) is in good company; his noodle joint, 'Noodles,' shares seventh floor Macy's real estate with Rick Bayless's Frontera Fresco
and Nancy Silverton's La Brea Bakery
The slim menu is decidedly pork-centric, with all three noodle soups bathing in a pork-flavored, miso or vegetable broth and accompanied by minced or sliced bits of the meat itself. The generously ladled steaming bowls are about half-a-basketball big, filled to the brim with a slightly oily broth, ramen noodles, nori, baby spinach, and a scant mix of vegetables.
For those who prefer to steer clear of "the other white meat," the chicken salad is a light and tasty option: hearty slices of moist white meat rest atop a bed of greens, marinated mushrooms and a few wonton strips for crunch. Vegetarians have the option of steamed buns—which may also be ordered with pork—flat, inch-thick disks of rice flour dough topped with stir-fried vegetables and a drizzle of spicy wasabi dressing; there's also a house-made tofu appetizer and miniature mountains of fried rice entrees.
Prices tip the typical food court scale—entrees cost around $9—but when a big bowl of soup can keep you quenched and satiated for an entire shopping marathon, it's hard to complain.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Jessica Herman