In this Corner, noodles and more

TAKEOUT

Winners on menu of Asian restaurant

Takeout

April 20, 2005|By Tom Waldron | Tom Waldron,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Noodles Corner, a small, successful Asian restaurant in Columbia, has a few tables, groovy halogen lights hanging from the high ceiling, a nice wooden counter where carryout patrons wait -- and an amazing swan.

This swan, which sits at the carryout counter, is made from hundreds of pieces of paper ripped from magazines and folded into small shapes that interlock to form the bird's body, neck and head. It stands about 8 inches high and deserves a spot in the American Visionary Art Museum.

The swan alone was reason to like Noodles Corner. As a bonus, the service was friendly and prompt, and the food was perfectly agreeable.

We loaded up on the reasonably priced appetizers. A delicious Malaysian chicken satay ($4.25) featured thin, sliced chicken-breast pieces grilled quickly and served with a cucumber relish and a peanut-flavored sauce. Potstickers ($2.75) were filled with minced chicken and steamed just right. And spring rolls ($2.20) were flaky and good.

The Vietnamese shrimp salad ($4.45) came with plenty of small, cleaned shrimp and other goodies dressed in a fish sauce.

The menu features several varieties of noodle dishes. Unfortunately, we did not manage to order one of the comforting noodle and broth dishes we tend to favor. Instead we ended up with ja-jain mein, or spaghetti Beijing style ($7.75), which provided an ample serving of egg noodles, ground chicken and dried tofu with bean sprouts in a bean-paste sauce. It was a hearty dish but far from delicate, as we had hoped for, but that was my mistake.

Sesame chicken ($7.95), a chef's specialty, will be familiar to anyone who has ever set foot in a local Chinese carryout. Another specialty, beef with broccoli ($8.75), offered tender, thin-sliced beef in a unremarkable but inoffensive brown sauce.

Noodles Corner offers three fruity desserts, which are produced elsewhere. We opted for a cool pineapple sorbet, served inside half of a small, hollowed-out pineapple ($5). It was a nice capper and had only 150 calories, according to the plastic packaging it came in.

Noodles Corner occupies an all but hidden shopping plaza near Snowden River Parkway, along with a handful of other restaurants and stores. If you can find the plaza, there is plenty of parking out front.

Know of a good carryout that we should visit? Tell us about it. E-mail: carryouts@covad.net

Noodles Corner

Food: ***

Service: ***1/2

Waiting area: ***1/2

Parking: **

Where: 8865 Stanford Blvd., Columbia

Phone: 410-312-0088

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 9:30 p.m. Sunday

Prices: Asian noodle dishes, appetizers, salads and stir-fry dishes, $2.20 to $10.75; credit cards accepted

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