Rockshrimp2 Though they opened in stealth mode, with little fanfare, Noodle Central, the long awaited cousin to Nelson Yip’s Aozora, has emerged as a restaurant to watch. Yip is behind the menu; brother-in-law Ho Yung and wife Myra (also of Simply Zen) are behind the execution of the restaurant, a family dream a long time coming. A more casual, budget-friendly destination than Aozora, it features an eclectic Pan Asian/European menu that solves the dilemma of “You want Thai, but I crave Japanese.” The menu’s Orient express ride through Asian cuisine makes stops in Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam and Thailand. The fare is so eclectic it even features linguini (it is a noodle) as well as a soulful French onion soup that although out of left field, is in sync with the restaurant’s comfort food focus. And what could be more comforting than a bowl of noodles, something Noodle Central explores in a variety of familar dishes (think pad Thai) as week as other more unique offerings (sweet potato noodle salad). Seaweed_1There’s also a separate vegetarian menu. 

Some dishes still need tweaking — tofu fries, although artfully presented, lacked any real flavor. What we’d loved: rock shrimp, seaweed salad, and the spicy Siam noodle soup. What we’d love to see: a menu stop in Shanghai for crab and pork soup dumplings.

Noodle Central doesn’t feature the skyscraper presentation Yip became famous for at Aozora, but expect beautifully presented, inventive food in a very aesthetically pleasing, Zen-like space. The space, in fact, is its own story — the restaurant is the centerpiece of the former H. Mullen Livery building, a throwback to the days of horse-drawn stagecoaches that managed to survive all these years.

Yung was able to purchase the building only after the original owner’s plans to sell the building to create a cinderblock pharmacy were thwarted by the Montclair Historical Commission. Today, the restaurant features much of the building’s original details as well as a historically sensitive restoration including salvaged woods and rescued bricks from the building’s basement. in addition to Noodle Central and Simply Zen, the building also houses office space and a Weight Watchers meeting location on its upper floors. The big bonus — an adjacent parking lot and space on Gates Street for a full outdoor seating area when winter is just a memory. Besides the menu, Noodle Central has an area designated for a noodle “chef” who will make noodles by hand as well as a Japanese tepanyaki grill. Open everyday for lunch and dinner (dinner only on Sunday). — Liz George

Noodle Central, 292 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair (corner of Gates & Bloomfield Aves) 973-744-2800

70 replies on “Using Their Noodles”

  1. I guess I’ll have to give them another try. Was not impressed on the first visit. Lovely and comforatbale room, reasonable service, food looked nice but not that exciting. Expected better from Nelson Yip.

  2. Pretty good for a new restaurant. Decent for the money. If the chef is reading this, I would recomend using better quality shrimp for the rock shrimp app. Seaweed salad and noodle soups were delish.

  3. I had eaten dinner there with some friends last week. Although they were not pleased with the food, I enjoyed the Pad Thai. None of us were pleased with the service from one specific server…very unatentive and full of the wrong attitude. that was enough to make us not go back.

  4. I ate there the other night- was worried when I walked in- nice room, but didn’t seem finished, and there was only one staff member on the floor. The menu was very strange graphically – misaligned prices, inconsistent kerning, off kilter metaphors, etc… but all that was erased when I got 5 beautiful fresh and creative dishes in a rapid succession at a great price. I think its sort of a “soft-opening”- and I think its gonna be great once they’re up to speed.

  5. I want to thank everyone for their honest comments and will look into addressing all of your concerns. Please be more constructive and specific in your comments so that we can make changes to improve your experience.
    More works are underway to finalize the decor and fine tune our menu. Since this concept is relatively new (i.e. only three franchise currently have try this fusion noodle theme)we are still growing to meet your needs. Our greatest challenge has been to keep pricing down and still provide the quality foods that Montclair expects and also make the experience more intimate.
    Addressing the quality of the menu layout you will see a new professional menu soon because we have not finalize our selections. Already we have made numerous revision by adding and taking away and adjusting dishes based on popularity and comments so I would appreciate more specific feedback.
    The purpose of the soft opening is to allow us to acclimate our menu to this new concept while staying true to our goal of a low budget and unpretentious dining experience. I think the final touches should confirm my dream of this so I hope you can envision my final work once “all the strokes are in and the paint dries”.
    With Aozora we were blessed by an appreciative clientele who made every effort to inform us of their experience and we tried to deliver. I can still see people jaws drop even now when they see some of Nelson Yip’s creation. Here we hope to do the same but as one client told us “we need a restaurant we can enjoy on a Thursday budget” by offering the same quality at half the price.
    So to address Peter’s comments this is not Aozora in the sense we don’t have the extravagance and price but try to keep the quality and offer more on the decor.
    I want to thank everyone again and hope to invite everyone back in the next few weeks as the final touches are conpleted.

  6. We ate here last nite, xmas eve. They were OUT of Diet coke and any diet soda. They had 2 different menus, and the Height-chair we used was broken. So much for a New restaurant on the Right Track.
    the prices were fair, the food was ok. The Gyoza were the kind u get from scratch, which was nice. Big dinner portions, but beward – SMALL appetizers.
    all in all – if i rate 1 – 10…a 5.

  7. We ate here last nite, xmas eve. They were OUT of Diet coke and any diet soda. They had 2 different menus, which were very limited and confusing. Also the Height-chair we used was broken. So much for a New restaurant on the Right Track.
    As far as the prices, they were fair, the food was ok, too many noodles and not enough meat. The Gyoza were the kind u get from scratch, which was nice. Big dinner portions, but beware – SMALL appetizers.
    all in all – if i rate 1 – 10…a 5.

  8. Family members ate here on Saturday night and were underwhelmed, more because of service issues than anything, but they also weren’t knocked out by the food. Four adults + 3 kids went, and I heard a report that included comments such as “the waitress was too busy trying to be a supermodel” and “we ordered trout but got salmon.”
    They wanted food that the kids would eat, so on one dish, they asked for a non-spicy sauce and were accommodated (and I’m told the black bean sauce was great), but the pad thai (PAD THAI) was so spicy that even my dad thought it was hot. Who serves spicy pad thai?!? More especially, after a discussion about having a couple of bland dishes for the kids, couldn’t the waitress have mentioned that the pad thai was hot? Needless to say, it sounds like there is still a lot to work out at this place.

  9. wow, we ate at Noodle Central last week, middle of the week. Everything was terrific.
    Our server was very nice and unobtrusive.
    The food was delicious. The hot and sour soup some of the best ever and the little fried ravioli that garnished the soup was so good that I want to ask for a plate of them as an app next time.
    We had the dumplings in peanut and chili oil sauce and a scallion pancake as appetizers. The seafood tepanyaki and Bloomfield Avenue Bourguignon were our entrées. All were delicious, as was the ice cream dessert with the hot banana.
    I expect we will be back, often. I am usually a service snob, but I would be able to overlook some service issues to enjoy this food.
    Full disclosure; we worked with Ho to design the exterior murals.

  10. We went the day the restaurent opened. Soft open. It was very good. The food, especially the Hot Sour Soup was terrific. Let’s remember folks this place was scheduled to be a Walgreen’s Drug Store. Hat’s off to Ho and his staff. It will be a great addition come warmer weather when the sidewalk cafe is open. Also Give Ho credit for coming on this site and stating his objectives and asking for suggestions.

  11. Kevin – we must be eating at completely different restaurants. When i was there the other night, it was a whole ‘nother experience.
    Though the room was less than 1/4 filled, the one server on the floor was answering phones, disappearing into the kitchen – and in general making it impossible for guests to connect with him. We had to ask for water. And plates. And forks.
    Made friends with the table next to ours – a lovely woman and her two kids. They waited twenty minutes for their two entrees. That’s a long time for kids (even adults) especially when you’ve been offered no bread, crackers, noodles or anything interesting to munch on.
    The food was uneven. The duck was covered in a dark, murky sauce that had a distinctly unpleasant aftertaste. The chicken teriyaki was sweet (why?) and the noodles, gummy. The spring rolls were fabulous – but accompanied by something that tasted like applesauce. When i re-checked the menu, i was amazed to read it was supposed to be a pumpkin sauce. There was no hint of pumpkin anywhere.
    I know these people are experienced restaurateurs – so this meal was both surprising and disappointing.
    The room is quite handsome, though, and the building is really special. But the bathrooms hadn’t been refreshed – and (imho) that’s inexcusable.

  12. Karen Diaz (rhubarbd)
    When Kevin posted his review, he mentioned that he had worked with Ho on the outside photo murals for the restaurant.
    You are a public figure on the local restaurant scene, as a PR person and a columnist for the Montclair Times.
    I’M surprised that you spend so much time criticizing local restaurants, such as One 15 cafe, Egan’s, and now negative posts on Noodle Central here and on e-gullet.
    Why do you on one hand write a column for the Montclair Times celebrating local restaurants and then criticize others on these forums?
    I know someone on e-gullet remarked that you may be criticizing restaurants that are not your clients, but I remember you saying that you had more business than you could handle, so I don’t think that is the reason.
    Karen, in your capacity as a hospitality professional with local restaurants as clients, and as a writer for the Montclair Times, I think it would be great if you would make those disclaimers before you post negative comments on a restaurant or other food related business.

  13. Sharky,
    What’s your “real name”?
    Aren’t you in the catering business and a “former restauratuer from Montclair”? That was a quote from your website.
    Where’s your disclaimer?
    I guess food critics aren’t allowed personal lives- I suggest Karen posted under her internet nickname so that folks wouldn’t think it was an official critique- just her personal opinion- I don’t know her so I’m just supposing.
    What’s your relationship to kevin – are you part of the “we” that got paid for the murals? Did you get paid enuf to make it matter?
    One other question- why are you always soooo snarky sharky?

  14. First, who the devil is “sharky? A restarant owner who perhaps got a bad review? Second, if Karen is rhubarbd then why is she not allowed to have a personal opinion…aside from her job. Besides I thought her comments were very constructive….isn’t that what you wanted?

  15. Hey Sharky
    If you want to communicate directly with someone in their capacity as a columnist for a newspaper,(and not let her have her own personal/separate opinions — which, btw, were not at all nasty or whatever) then why not use use the newspaper address?
    The Montclair Times
    114 Valley Rd. Montclair, NJ 07042
    zombisha (Trisha S.)

  16. Who’s Sharky? Who’s Sharky? I’ll tell ya who Sharky is. He’s a poor excuse for a Navy Chief Petty Officer played by Mr. Personality himself, Don Rickles, in the 1980’s on TV. THAT’S who Sharky is…..

  17. Unlike Sharky’s post, Rhubarbd’s was informative and gave comments concerning the most important aspects of a restaurant — service, food and decor. Karen obviously has a life outside her job. Perhaps Sharky should get one too!

  18. Just to be fair to Sharky (and damnit sharky, you know how I hate that )… I think she assumed that because most regulars here (and on other Montclair boards) know who she is, that everyone does.
    I also agree that disclosures are a fair thing to give when you’re in a business directly related to or in competition with another business. Then you can let others decide whether you’re biased or not.

  19. Tonight 12/30/05 was second time trying restaurant and some things still need attention, mostly in the service area. The hostess with stylish hair on both times seemed indifferent and not welcoming. We sat at a wobbly round table and asked to be moved. We also waited about 10 minutes before asking wait person to bring glasses and open our wine we had placed on table. After 10 minute wait we received two appetizers, the only problem was they were for the next table and we had to let wait person know they were not ours.
    Overall food was very good but not great. Good items include appetizers: shrimp gyoza, vietnamese rolls (could be warmer)and grilled calamari with ginger sauce. The tofu fries with chil sauce were awful and should be removed from the menu.
    Our group sampled the following entrees: chicken and pork komatsu with yellow curry-very good, chicken with clear noodles-not good, noodles were overcooked and sticky with little flavor, skip this one; grilled salmon with rice noodles -good; and vermicelli with curry sause OK but a little mushy. On another visit the chicken pad thai was good but not spiced enough for my taste; the sizzling seafood with noodles is good.
    Desserts were not bad, chocolate flourless cake is very good, although waiter forgot to enter order and we had to wait a while for it to arrive. Mochi were good. Teas/Espresso’s are good but plain coffee was AWFUL and had been sitting on burner WAY TOO long, I asked for it to be replaced with tea.
    The space/design is great and we will give it another try, but service is a little spotty although our particular waiteress was very friendly and helpful. Backup service help needs some guidance though.

  20. I thought Rhubarbd’s comments were very helpful. It is ridiculous to think you cannot have an opinion outside of the workplace. Just because it wasnt the best review Sharky, it doesnt mean it is incorrect.

  21. Took 3 adults and three kids after attempting to eat at the neighborhood Jamaican joint turned out to be closed. Despite our enthusiasm for trying something new…and excitement at the wealth of choices…we were ultimately frustrated by the service.
    The FOOD- Seared tuna was far better and more plentiful than the price would connote. Perfectly cooked, interestingly seasoned, and served with some soba noodles and a nice dipping sauce.
    The seaweed salad was pretty and tasty, redolent of sesame oil and the sea. The gyoza (seafood and pork) were both as good as anywhere else…and maybe even better.
    Pho was fairly greasy and lacking in flavor, but the glass noodle main courses were very tasty.
    Walking in we had to grab our own high-chair for our youngest…had to ask multiple times for bottle openers for our beer (Red Stripe, how gauche, I know)…and beckon the wait-staff multiple times to either place the order or get additional sauces (and then wrong sauce was delivered).
    For now this is a delivery-only option for us.

  22. We had the opportunity to try Noodle Central last Friday evening. The food was very tasty. Unlike Foodfiend, my husband found the Pho to be quite enjoyable. I enjoyed the scallion pancake appetizer and the Seaefood with crispy noodles. The service a bit distant- seemed the staff spent a lot of time in the kitchen, but nothing that would get my knickers in a knot. I appreciate lingering for a while with my dining partners, but I never felt the staff were ignoring me. They were pleasant & gracious – which is more than I can say for many baristaville establishments. We’ll go back. Loved the fact that they had a “no cell phone rule”- even though some patrons at the next table extended a lack of courtesy and just blabbed away.

  23. We went there on New Years’ Eve.
    Ordered some Spring Rolls, a bowl of Pho and Chicken Pad Thai. The pork in the spring rolls had a funny flavor…almost raw, so we had to order the veggie ones…they were fine. The Pho and the Pad Thai were very salty and kind of bland.

  24. Having just returned from eating one of the finest meals I’ve experienced in a very long time, I have to wonder if any of you folks that wrote such persnickety, and caustic reviews of Noodle Central, actually dined in the correct building. You strike me as the kind of people that would return a stalk of celery to your local King’s super market after getting it home and finding that it it had wilted slightly on the ride home.
    That said, let me write more about the superior dining experience that I expect anyone not requiring psychotropic medication might expect to have at Noodle Central.
    My girlfriend and I arrived at the restaurant on New Years Day, half expecting it to be closed. Relieved it was open, we were promptly seated at one of the adequately spaced center tables.
    We were provided with menus (WHICH ARE WORKS IN PROGRESS), both standard, and vegetarian , as my girlfriend does not consume the flesh of animals. Although the menus are in their beta development stage, the choices were amazingly creative and superbly priced.
    For the first course, I began with the hot and sour soup with fried ravioli; my girlfriend had the miso soup. Now, I’m not a big soup aficionado, but we both relished every drop of them.
    We moved on to apps: dumplings with peanut and chili sauce for me, and veggie spring rolls with pumpkin dipping sauce for my date. By the time we had finished these absolutely delicious starters (and believe me, one can simply not leave any of these treats on his plate), I was actually beginning to feel full, and very satisfied. I also found myself, at the same time, looking forward to the main course.
    I ordered the whole breast duck with coconut curry sauce. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? IT WAS!!!!! The flavor combinations were exquisite!!! Half-way through the main course, I was feeling stuffed. I could NOT STOP EATING IT!!!
    My girlfriend’s portion of veggie Pad Thai was huge. Not only in quantity, but in flavor, as well. She wasn’t able to finish it, so the wait person was more than happy to neatly package it up for her.
    They seemed to have a BYOB policy, as other tables were enjoying bottles of wine. We opted for the choices of hot and iced Thai teas. We are both big fans of tea, and were amazed at how delicious this tea was. It was a perfect compliment for every course served to us.
    So, while the rest of you complain about the alleged inadequacies of one of the best restaurants to come to this area (IMHO), we will be returning to Noodle Central to sample other menu items, that we’re certain will reflect the same quality, and flavor we experienced today.

  25. “…my girlfriend does not consume the flesh of animals.”
    Interesting approach. Does she drink their blood?

  26. In all fairness, Doc, I have to ask…are you in any way affiliated with this place? Yours is the first 100% rave I’ve heard, which leads me to wonder if:
    a) You have a connection to the place;
    b) The owners have been reading all of the complaints here and on other boards and have made some changes; or
    c) You lucked out.
    I realize that the restaurant is new, and new places always have kinks to work out–even spots that end up being wonderful.

  27. I have also been to Noodle Central and had a very uneven experience. But then I saw DocBrown68’s post. I’m curious as to the relationship between Doc and Noodle Central? Excusing a menu that is unfinished or uncertain as a work in progress…hmmmm. Multiple exclamation marks…hmmmm. Now, could this be a plant with shallow roots?

  28. I feel compelled to to post my own experiences about Noodle Central after reading all of the above.
    We have been enjoying their udon soups since the restaurant opened. All carry-out I’m afraid, my child has no patience with restaurants other than fast-food. Someday I will try the other sections of the menu, but for now the udon soups are just right. They are the perfect soul-soothing comfort food.
    We (and I speak for my whole family here), are SO HAPPY to have a restaurant like Noodle Central in town. Asian Fusion cuisine is not easy to come by on the East Coast.
    I am confident that all the kinks will be worked out in time. Keep up the good work.

  29. For the record, I have no affiliation with the restaurant, other than paying for a superb meal there.
    I think it’s rather cynnical to assume that I do have a relationship with the establishment, or that I use too many exclamation points.
    I was just offering my humble opinion, as a casual diner, excited by my dining experience. I thought that was the purpose of this forum.
    If you wish to begin a separate thread for cynicism, and/or overzealous punctuation, hey I’m game for that too!
    I don’t think I’ll be talking about restaurants there though!!!

  30. Mountainside Hospital Foundation would like to invite “Baristaville” to a special night at Noodle Central. On Wednesday, January 25th, Chef Nelson Yip will present “An Appreciation of Japanese Cooking and Sushi Demonstration” at the restaurant. The evening will start at 7:30pm, and the $45 price includes a cocktail style appetizer buffet, seated entree, dessert, coffee/tea and the sushi demo. In addition, 10% of the evening’s proceeds will benefit the Cancer Center at Mountainside Hospital. Seating is limited to 70 patrons, and RSVP is strongly recommended. Please call me at (973) 429-6124 if you’d like to join us there. Thank you!

  31. Disclaimer: I consider both sharky and rhubarbd to be my “friends.” (There, I said it!)
    Now, here are my thoughts on one of the matters at hand, in this discussion (*not* that I am trying to “moderate” the discussion!!!)
    Someone said:
    —> “I think [sharky] assumed that because most regulars here (and on other Montclair boards) know who she is, that everyone does.”
    First of all who *is* she?!
    Then, well, maybe rhubarbd (also seen posting, many times, on the Montclair Watercooler, MontclairUnmoderated, and here) “assumed” that, too!
    —> “I also agree that disclosures are a fair thing to give when you’re in a business directly related to or in competition with another business.”
    First of all, rhubarbd is the internet nickname of a private citizen who is entitled to personal opinions. It was used in a place where we’re all virtually anonymous. A person who was not representing a business (be that media or restaurant) connection at the time.
    Secondly, if sharky would have liked full “disclosure,” then why didn’t she share *her* food business connections with us?!

  32. Well I am new here, and only have been living in W Orange for three weeks and consider myself and my wife devout(sp?) foodies…We love what we have experienced in Montclair thus far (Epernay and Cuban Pete’s (even though their Sangria is meh))…
    I think we’ll have to try this place out, and I’ll be sure to post my feedback here. Our favorite place to grab dumplings is New Bo Green in China town (we are moving from Weehawken) and for asian fair is Penang Soho, so we’ll be judging it against some pretty stiff competition.
    Now, is there a formal message board here? Or is egullet the place to post??
    Also, egullet rejected my app, any idea why they might do that?

  33. Raymonddo wrote:
    “First of all, rhubarbd is the internet nickname of a private citizen who is entitled to personal opinions. It was used in a place where we’re all virtually anonymous. A person who was not representing a business (be that media or restaurant) connection at the time.”
    Raymond, she’s a highly paid restaurant publicist. If anyone is aware on how damaging a bad review on an local food blog can be on a new restaurant, she is. I particularly thought the post was in poor form after the owner had posted previously a contrite explanation of what he was trying to achieve with a soft opening.

  34. Mazie–
    I just happened to note this thread and was amazed at the way a personal attack is allowed on someone. Mazie makes note that the columnist is a highly paid publicist. How does mazie know how high she is paid? And why even go in that direction? Is mazie in the food world and is mazie a publicist who knows what the industry pays? And what does this have to do with someone’s personal experience at Noodle Central. Mazie and Sharky seem to be saying a lot of inappropriate things that have nothing to do with Noodle Central. I wonder why? Just because an owner posts a response, that doesn’t mean people can’t make their own comments–positive or negative. Whenever there is a personal attack on these type of sites, the people making the attacks always have a hidden agenda. I wonder what it is here? Just a thought.

  35. First of all my disclaimer: I know rhubarbd and have dealt with her on a professional level.
    She is an extremely qualified restaurant consultant –one of the best I have worked with. Additionally she is an honest and ethical person who puts her values first. That is why she is sought out by clients. Why are you Sharkey, aka Kathleen McDonough Chef d’ Cuisine of Rustic Food ( questioning her motives? Isn’t rhubarbd allowed to have her personal opinions and write about HER experiences at a restaurant. If they don’t agree with yours does that make her wrong? And why pick on the restaurants that she had a less than stellar experiences and not the ones she has praised. I would recommend that you read her informative column on “Things can go wrong when you open a restaurant” at
    Also—Sharky—I thought one who practices yoga would live by the principal of “loving kindness.”
    Noodle Central according to most of the posts here except for some possible shills is having a tough time with service. And when the owner states that he is looking into the posters concerns and still nothing changes then I’m even more uncertain about the owner’s sincerity.
    And Mazie Gordon –are you rhubarbd’s accountant? What does her salary have to do with her opinion?

  36. “rhubarbd … an honest and ethical person who puts her values first.”
    Then from Karen Diaz’ column this week:
    “So remember, before turning to cyberspace to Make Your Displeasure Known, be a mensch.”
    Full disclosure, I am Sharky’s husband and we, with friends who been and others who have not, will be dining at Noodle Central, tomorrow evening.
    And it seems to me, form these postings and other that restauranteurs who are unwilling to pay ms Diaz for her thoughts are subject to her trashing those places online. She should follow her own advice, not seek protection money from new businesses.
    Rosie has also damaged her own credibility and that of NJ monthly with her posting. Has Noodle Central chosen to not advertise in NJ Monthly?
    I am sure I will have something else nice to say after dinner tomorrow.

  37. My companion and I spent New Year’s Eve at Noodle Central and had a very tasty meal. The spring rolls, scallion pancake (addictive…) were both standout appetizers, and my entree (trout with black bean sauce) was the first exceptional fish entree I’ve had in Montclair (and I’ve been to Table 8, Deja Vu, Corso 98, etc.) we split the fried banana with ice cream for desert and I remember it very fondly. The room was cheerful and the service brisk, if a bit distracted.
    Now some minuses: The Pad Thai – it just seems overspiced. Some of the servers were a little self-absorbed. The waitress who took our order for example did not bother to ask if we wanted something to drink – seems pretty basic to me.
    The minuses did not diminish our experience by much however, and the place has a great deal of potential. The food is already very good and could become fabulous. Give it a chance folks, it’s a charming restaurant on a block that needs more charm.

  38. First the disclosure: I own a Montclair restaurant and have known Karen Diaz for years. She interviewed me for the Montclair Times article. My restaurant does not work with her professionally.
    Regardless of professional affiiation, she has always been supportive. We have had more than one discussion about the difficulties of opening a restaurant, and I can not imagine anyone more empathetic to the restaurateur. I have always found her to be honest, fair and constructive in her observations.
    Karen is a true pro. The insinuation that she would sabotage any restaurant (new or not)that is not her client is completely unfair.

  39. So it appears that kevin lee allen has fallen into slander when he says restauranteurs who are unwilling to pay ms. diaz for her thoughts are subject to her trashing. Like many other montclairians i actually read her column and have found her to be generous to all restaurants. It seems the fact that she’s a columnist and not a reviewer has escaped the trio. Has noodle central approached ms. diaz for work? Does kevin lee allen actually know what he’s talking about or is this just the continuous rantings of 3 people who seem to be connected to noodle central? Curious that these people feel comfortable saying such things. I have been to noodle central as i have mentioned before and if this is the kind of people that the restaurant works with I don’t think i’ll be going back too soon. This is no longer about food but these three have pushed this into an unfortunate place for what appears self serving reasons.

  40. By the way, we have also never taken out an ad in NJ Monthly, but still got a great review last year.

  41. It boggles the mind how what appears to be a casual thread about a restaurant, has turned into a spitting contest about journalistic ethics, complete with cross referenced hyperlinks, and a complete loss of focus on the restaurant itself.
    Kvetch, Kvetch, Kvetch!!!!!

  42. Docbrown68, you’re absolutely right, but I have noticed that very few threads on this site manage to stay on topic!

  43. Maybe this should become its own thread… I apologize for diverting from the original but I have to add this: how can any “food columnist”/”restaurant critic” (or whatever you wanna call it) have ANY credibility when they own a business promoting specific restaurants and THEN bragging about it all over the internet??? My take is that Mrs. Diaz is very young and inexperienced. In my mind, she should either back off commenting on the internet or resign from her journalistic job. You can write anything you want on the internet but if you’re a professional (e.g doctor, lawyer, dentist, etc.) and you’re doing some consulting for other professionals, you should refrain from criticizing your pairs who are not paying you money. It’s called ethics. Same goes for Rosie who gets advertisement money!

  44. Full disclosure – my name is Elaine Rust and I am the owner and executive chef of Rustic Food Custom Catering, a local off-premises catering business, currently in our 5th year of business. We are not a restaurant, nor do we ever plan to be a restaurant. Other off-premises caterers, generally not restaurants, are our competition in this market.
    Kathy McDonough has been a valued associate of Rustic Food and friend of mine for many years. She is a professional chef, one of the best I’ve worked with in over twenty five years in the restaurant business from coast to coast.
    I also know Karen Schloss Diaz in a professional capacity, having spoken to her about her company and services.
    I am a member of e-gullet and know Rosie as the board moderator for the New Jersey board.
    I do not know the owners of Noodle Central, nor have I eaten there. I hope to soon, as Kathy highly recommended the place and she’s never BS’d me about a restaurant before.
    There is usually no one pickier about restaurant food and service than someone who works in the business.
    There is also no one who’s more sympathetic to a new restaurant owner. As one who knows what it means to invest the time, money and stress into opening a food service operation, I really feel that Karen should have spoken directly with the owner before posting negative comments on a public food forum and that if she chose to do so, she should not have done it anonymously. That she did raises the question of a conflict of interest and as a journalist, she should have recognized that.
    As someone “in the business”, I would never, ever contemplate posting negative comments on a local restaurant in this or any other public forum, because people might question my motives. They would have every right to.
    Rosie, please, let’s not have this turn into another international incident like the infamous overdressed salad at another local restaurant. But thanks for the traffic 😉
    Ho & Myra – best of luck. I know the pain. Hopefully the old saying that there’s no bad publicity is true.
    Peace, everyone

  45. Baristanet thanks all of you for sharing your opinions, bringing up some interesting discussion/questions. We do ask that you refrain from personal attacks or slanderous statements, such as “taking advertising money” or restaurant “protection money.”
    We also encourage you to go out and try Noodle Central as well as all the other restos on this page and leave your opinions. That is exactly what the page is for. As far as this site being a place “where we’re all virtually anonymous,” clearly that’s not the case. If your intent is to truly post anonymously, we suggest using a different name, not one that people have come to know you by on other boards. It appears “rhubarbd” is actually a well-known moniker to many, much like “raymmondo.”

  46. Well Mazie,
    it’s about time you came clean- not only with your relationship to the restaurant business but your relationship to Sharky–Kathy McDonough and through her your relationship to Kevin Lee Allen.
    you said “I am sure I will have something else nice to say after dinner tomorrow.”
    Why would you know that in advance?

  47. Oh, so now it’s *my* fault?!
    Yes, this IS a place where we’re all *virtually* anonymous!
    virtually =
    1 : almost entirely
    2 : for all practical purposes

  48. Ahhh virtually anonymous yes.
    But Kevin must be part Kreskin ’cause he knows what his food will taste like before he eats it. He also knows what the service and ambiance will be like at a restaurant before he’s even seated.
    Cool one kevin!!!

  49. No Raymmmmondo — I was using your screen name as an example of how these “names” get known after time…

  50. wow…all these professionals argueing like school children certainely leaves a bad taste in my mouth…
    hopefully you don’t treat your patrons like this…

  51. Big Dipper wrote:
    “…had a very tasty meal. The spring rolls, scallion pancake (addictive…) were both standout appetizers, and my entree (trout with black bean sauce) was the first exceptional fish entree I’ve had in Montclair…
    The room was cheerful and the service brisk, if a bit distracted…
    …some minuses: The Pad Thai – it just seems overspiced. Some of the servers were a little self-absorbed. The waitress who took our order for example did not bother to ask if we wanted something to drink – seems pretty basic to me.”
    SO…if we’re strictly looking at reports about FOOD and SERVICE at Noodle Central, this post again echoes what others have said over the last 4-6 weeks–that there are some terrific dishes, the pad thai is too spicy, and the service is a major issue. For some, the service makes a big difference, for others it doesn’t matter as much, and many, many people have noted that the place is new and needs to get a few things settled. No personal attacks–just opinions on dining experiences. CONSISTENT opinions, where there are more complaints than not.
    For those of you who have friends/connections to the restaurant, why don’t you just read THAT and take it for what it is? OPINIONS OF DINERS.
    Full disclosure: I have NO connection to any food business or restaurant, other than as a patron.

  52. We just had dinner there tonight with our 2 year old daughter. Staff service excellent – food delicious – i had the duck w/coconut milk sauce, my wife had noodles…superb. They also have great BBQ appetizers and their gyoza was perfect. The space is marvelous. Congratulations – we WILL be back!

  53. so did the people who cried that a certain knickname held much weight actually GIVE (make sure) that name (had) weight by pointing it to other names that have better known food biz connections (otherwise most people wouldnt have realized it)? weird.

  54. Food: Excellent!
    Service: Disasterous! We waited a half hour to get menus, and the restaurant was only half-full. Two different wait staff took our two bottles of wine. Ours came back opened in five minutes. Our friends’ bottle didn’t come back at all. After 15 minutes, they got up and asked the manager for their bottle. It took an hour to get appetizers, and another 45 minutes to get entrees. Too many other bad service examples to share. The service was so, so bad that we eventually just had to laugh.
    The result: It will be a long, long, long, long time before we will even consider going back. Fortunately, the manager took $25 off our bill.

  55. Stopped by on Jan. 6 (Fri.) Felt like it would be a bad experience a few minutes after walking in the door and not being addressed by anybody for an additional 5 minutes. The place was less than half full but everything took forever. (This was also the case for at least 3 other tables. One other table also received the wrong order.) After seating with menus, orders were not taken for at least 10 minutes. Appetizer of seaweed salad took 15 minutes. Couldn’t believe that a cold appetizer took that long to serve. Another 10 minutes later noodles finally arrived. (No apologies from staff despite complaints.) Pho was very tasty. Crispy noodles with seafood (seafood apparently means just shrimp and scallops) was mediocre and can be had at any Chinese restaurant with more seafood. Japanese udon in Miso soup was alright as well. All in all, food was passable, but won’t be going back due to horrible service.

  56. Despite the mix reviews, I was willing to give Noodle Central a try with my friends on a Saturday night. The décor was impressive. That was the end of the worst meal that I’ve had anywhere in a long time. We looked over the menu and it was totally different than the menu posted outside the restaurant. I looked over that part even though the prices were quite different. Three of my parties ordered appetizers and the rest of us ordered entrees. The first appetizer came about 25 minutes later. The waitress informed us about 20 minutes later that one of the appetizers that we ordered was no longer available. What took her 20 minutes to tell us that they longer had the appetizer? The first entrée came 55 minutes from the first moment that we placed the order. 55 minutes!!!! At that moment, I was growing quite agitated because 55 minutes for entrees is unacceptable. The restaurant was less than half full! I ordered the shrimp pad thai without nuts and the pad thai came with nuts. I told the waiter and he took it back. After waiting for 10 more minutes, I decided to cancel my order. The waitress assured me that it was coming out soon. When the dish came back out a few minutes later, I knew the kitchen just brushed the nuts aside and mixed the noodles back together. I could tell because I found a small piece of nut within the flat and lifeless noodles. I could also tell because the noodles were short and had been at the bottom of the dish. The last sign was the 3 pieces of medium size shrimp that were left on the plate. The $12 shrimp pad thai with three pieces of shrimp was totally unacceptable. I told the waiter that the pad thai still had nuts on it and he told me he would speak to the manager. No one else came by. Ten minutes later, I waved down another waitress and told her that I did not want the dish anymore. The rest of my party did not find the food tasteful except for the noodles with seafood on top. One had the Shrimp Tempura Udon with the curry sauce. The not quite broth-not quite curry sauce was bland and tasteless. The Singapore Shrimp Vermicelli lacked the fire that it should have. The overall experience was horrible. I was willing to forgive the 55 minute wait for the entrées if the food was good. The food did not make up for the experience. The last entrée for the table (which the waitress totally forgot) came about 1 hour and 15 minutes into the meal. When I told the manager that we were waiting for more than 55 minutes, he told me that dinner is supposed to be an enjoyable experience and that appetizers are timed spaciously between the entrées. Well…55 minutes for the first entrée was certainly not what I had in mind. The food and service made up one of the worst experience I’ve had. Go over to Miss Saigon and have a bowl of authentic and steamy pho for only $5.25.

  57. The wife says:
    Tonight was the second time we had dinner at Noodle Central. And our 2nd time mirrored the experience of the 1st time.
    The service was again less than desirable. It took a long time before we got our food. We are accustomed to dining out in Europe where it is normal to spend 2-3 hours eating but we are now in the USA, where the average person spends less than 45 min eating so…
    There were only 3 other tables of 2 patrons so it wasn’t like the restaurant was THAT crowded.
    The wait staff seemed rather unfamiliar with the menu.
    We also recieved another table’s order 2 times.
    The food was really not that good. I ordered (again) the Chicken Tonkatsu with ramen in a soy sauce broth and despite me telling the waiter to tell the kitchen not overcook the ramen, I ended up with a bowl of soggy ramen noodles and the wait for it was so long that my husband and child were almost finished their entrees.
    Soggy ramen, not spicy enough pad thai, and overcooked rice in the duck coconut curry dish.
    We also asked to speak to the manager but the waiter told us that he was busy in the kitchen. OH well.
    We will not be going back to Noodle Central and I can’t see recommending this restaurant to friends and colleagues.
    We wish Myra, Ho, and Nelson best of luck but I feel that unless they polish up on the service and the food, they will be very hard-pressed to attract returning patrons to their restaurant.
    The husband says:
    I have never been refused when asked for the manager. I am so insulted that I can barely breathe.

  58. I guess we never did hear from Kevin and Sharky as to how their January 6th dinner went.
    Was the service good? Did they seat you at your “special table”?

  59. We ate at Noodle Central recently and really enjoyed it.
    I liked that the meals were reasonably priced, yet the food and ambiance was nice. (In fact, I think it’s one of the nicest restaurant designs in all of Montclair!). We all shared several things…some noodle dishes, spring rolls, soups, salads, etc. The bill was cheap and the food was yummy.
    The service wasnt’ bad either…the waitress was kind and polite. And, we were able to order take-out for a friend who stayed home that night and she timed it just right.
    I definitely recommend it and would go back!

  60. I ate there shortly after the New Year. Great place but I have to say that the service and the food were mediocre at best. I had the same experience of everything taking forever when the place was not even half full. When my order arrived, it looked like it had congealed from having sat out too long. My friend’s order was so so. I am a huge patron of the East West restaurant and I believe the owners are the same. I feel like it is the same food but only served on prettier plates and a more upscale environment. You are better off going to East West or going to the Vietnamese restaurant next to it. Never going back.

  61. I want to thank the members of the community who came out to support Mountainside Hospital’s cancer center last night at Noodle Central. I also want to thank NC’s owners, Ho and Myra, as well as Chef Nelson Yip for their super service and dedication to a great community cause. The restaurant offered our guests (about 50 of us) the most delicious all-inclusive menu with more food than we could have imagined. Fresh sushi, hot appetizers with shrimp dumplings to die for, seafood soup and the most amazing avocado mixed greens salad. Our dinners were a choice of duck, lamb, snapper and scallops and there were rave reviews on each and every dish. Dessert was flourless chocolate cake with a berry mousse, and no matter how full everyone was, we saved room for this elegant and equally delicious treat. Chef Nelson treated us to a live sushi demonstration so we all learned about the history of sushi making, as well as the equipment and skills involved. I still can’t believe that sushi knife costs $3,000! He let all the guests sample his sushi made on the spot, and didn’t finish until all the fish on his table was gone, and served! I wish Noodle Central all the best and urge everyone to try it out, if you haven’t already. I know our guests will be back again, on their own, with friends and family in the future. Thank you again!!

  62. I’ve only ordered food to go from here but the noodle dish (kind of Indian style) with soy milk in the ingredients in wonderful. Sorry I can’t remember the name but you’d know what it is if you see the menu.

  63. I went here for my birthday tonight, out
    of curiousity. First of all, the room is
    freezingly cold, which could be due to the large expanse of windows lacking any
    drapes or blinds. My husband and I were
    the only customers at the time(around 6
    p.m.) and service was extremely slow.
    The menu is interesting and strange at the same time. Why is there French Onion
    Soup? (Of course, hubby ordered it and dubbed it “interesting”)Who would order cheescake or cappucino at an Asian restaurant?
    The hot and sour soup is absolutely fabulous, unlike any I’ve ever tried.
    The shrimp goyozas and vegetarian spring
    rolls were oversalted to a degree I’ve
    never experienced before. Why call it
    Mesclun Salad when it’s just an adornment with attitude on the plate, undressed to boot? The order of Orange
    Beef on vermicelli looked vaguely Alpo-like to me, but I was told that it was
    tasty—and much too salty.
    I though that $40 for the two of us,no beverages,no dessert,was a bit steep.
    It was okay, and I might try takeout
    some time in the future, or go to Chinatown and feed the whole family for the same price.

  64. The pad thai here doesn’t taste like pad thai at all to me. It tasted smoky and had lots of green and red bell peppers in it. ??? I liked the crab cake pretty good though it was a bit on the bready side- would have liked more crab. I liked the scallion pancakes a lot…it wasn’t as heavy and greasy as I’ve had in other restaurants. The tofu “fries” were ok- the sweet chili sauce that it came with tasted like it was straight from the jar. I cannot comment on the service…I took the food to-go. The prices are decent enough for me to be willing to give this place another try and order different things.

  65. This place is craptastic! Went last night and there we two other tables eating and one appeared to be full of employees. The appetizers weren’t bad and were well-priced. However, both main dishes we ordered (Grilled Salmon and Vietnamese Seafood Soup) were bland and overcooked.
    We pushed our food around a bit and went to Marzulos for desert.

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