The Noodle

I believe a nomination is in order. After 17 years of cranking out acres of fresh pasta, showcasing local artists’ work and shoehorning what feels like the entire North Shore into a space the size of Mother Hubbard’s cupboard, I think it’s time The Noodle in Wilmette finally got its due.

My proposal? An award — a “”green”” award for what the ground-breaking work the Noodle has been doing on behalf of asparagus — the oft-neglect, seldom-ordered orphan of the vegetable patch.

Very Pygmalion, what they’re doing with asparagus over there. It’s the headliner of two pasta sauces, a creamy tarragon-asparagus jumble and an excellent, muscular asparagus primavera tossed with white wine, tomatoes, olive oil, a hint of cream, grilled chicken and crumbles of feta. A star, I believe, is born.

But those are just two of the Noodle’s nine different pasta sauces (from Bolognese to a shrimp, scallop and mushroom mix), not to mention its three different cuts of pasta (angel hair, linguini, fettuccine) and three different flavors of pastas (white, spinach, garlic parsley).

All entrees come with free soup or salad (both are uninspired; you get what you pay for) and a side of pasta, so the options are practically limitless. When you factor in that the entrée list is evenly divided between Italian (chicken parmigiana or an overly spicy Italian sausage with peppers plater) and American (lemon-herb chicken breast or tasty pork medallions laced with red wine and rosemary), it’s almost too much to choose from.

Luckily, the staff is Norman Rockwell friendly.  When they suggest something on the revolving special list, listen to them. Our lemon sole en croute tasted like a seafood-version of beef Wellington, big and earthy with, of course, plenty of spinach glowing green and healthy.

According to The Noodle, the restaurant regularly donates gift certificates to silent auctions and fund raisers in the community, as well as sponsoring a variety of local events It epitomizes the Giving Back spirit of Make It Better.net.