First bites: Noodle 21

A while back, I had a chance to finally try Redlands’ Noodle 21 Asian Grill, which opened in late July.

A friend and I went a little after the lunchtime rush and the restaurant was still packed.

The restaurant has a very clean and modern design. It very much belies its strip-mall location.

For my first meal there, I ordered the Com Tom Ga Nuong, which is a charbroiled shrimp skewer with chicken ($7.95).

Leave it to me to order a noodle-free dish in a place called Noodle 21.

My friend ordered the a large (and I mean large) bowl of the Pho Dac Biet ($6.95), one of their Vietnamese soups.

We also ordered the fresh spring rolls ($4.95) to split.

Despite the crowd, the spring rolls arrived quickly. They were delicious!

The rolls were filled with shrimp, pork, veggies and vermicelli and were accompanied by a peanut sauce.

I probably could’ve eaten another two orders of these by myself.

After a short while our entres arrived.

I was slightly disappointed that the skewer only contained three shrimp. I also was a little concerned when I saw the coarsely-chopped chicken, since I’ve been to a few Asian restaurants where I’ve ended up encountering chicken gristle.

However, everything turned out just fine.

The shrimp wasn’t overdone, and the chicken had a unique, tasty flavor…and, thankfully, no gristle!

And with the accompanying salad and rice, it ended up being a filling meal.

Although I haven’t been back yet, I hope to go back soon and perhaps next time I’ll actually try a noodle entre at Noodle 21.

Noodle 21 Asian Grill is at 10040 Alabama St., Suite B, in Redlands.