Teriyaki & Noodles stands out among competition

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Why: Many of the major shopping areas of Clark County offer a fast-casual teriyaki restaurant, which provides an alternative to the fast food chains that also dot the landscape.

The family owned and operated Teriyaki & Noodles is one such place. It recently opened in the same shopping center as WinCo Foods, near Northeast Andresen and Fourth Plain roads. It is the second location for the owners of Ichi 18 Teriyaki. The original restaurant is near Evergreen High School.

Atmosphere: The new restaurant has a calm, contemporary décor that utilizes earth tones accented by simple pendant lights. Seating consists mostly of rosewood and black tables and chairs, with a wall bench that flanks one side of the restaurant (perfect for squirmy kids who might have trouble within the confines of a chair). Orders are placed at the counter and delivered to tables. A help-yourself soup setup is available for those dining in, as well as those waiting for to-go orders. Beverages are located in a drink cooler and there is a soda fountain with Pepsi products.

What I tried: I settled on the spicy chicken, and my dining companion had the teriyaki chicken. We both indulged in the soup, which was a delicious egg flower soup that incorporated zucchini and potatoes into the traditional recipe.

In addition to the meat, both of our meals included two tidy scoops of white rice and a serving of salad made with iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots and red cabbage, topped with a mayonnaise-based, poppy seed dressing. The salad was refreshing. The rice was not overly sticky yet still manageable with chop sticks.

The spicy chicken that I ordered was mixed with red bell peppers, green onions and a lot of white onions, which were a bit out of balance with the other elements. After finishing the chicken, which had comparable amounts of onion and pepper with each bite, there was a considerable portion of the onions left over. I found the chicken to be tasty, spicy and slightly sweet, but not overwhelmingly spicy, which allowed me to experience all the ingredients’ flavors.

My dining companion, who works in the restaurant industry, was impressed with the meatiness of the chicken and enjoyed the sweet teriyaki flavor that was infused throughout the meat.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: Menu categories include teriyaki, bowls, Chinese entrees, noodle entrees (yakisoba and yaki udon, clear noodles, lo mein, pad Thai, chow mein, and ramen), teriyaki and noodles, fried rice, Chinese teriyaki, and teriyaki combos. Meats include chicken, pork, beef, shrimp and short ribs. There is a lot to choose from, including vegetarian, tofu and popular meat dishes such as General Tso and orange chicken.

Other observations: Service was friendly and polite, food was fresh and arrived quickly, and portions were on the generous side. The free soup is a nice personal touch to an otherwise order-by-number experience.

Take out and catering are available.

Of the teriyaki restaurants that I have visited, this one stands out.

Cost: Most dishes are between $7.20 and $9.90, with just a few between $10.50 and $11.90. Teriyaki and noodles are all $9.70. Sides cost $2 to $6.90.

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Where: 2265 N.E. Andresen Road, Suite 103, Vancouver.

Telephone: 360-253-5959.

Health score: Teriyaki & Noodles has received a pre-opening inspection, which is not scored, and is scheduled to receive a routine inspection in the near future. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.