I never met a noodle I didn’t love and a recent visit to Veranda Kitchen & Bar in Westbrook further proved this point.
The fourth in the Veranda family of Thai restaurants, this location opened in March and is first outside of Portland. With a hearty appetite, I took my time perusing the menu and resisted the urge to order one of my two usual standbys: pad thai and drunken noodle. I also bypassed the appetizer menu completely, despite many temptations, including chicken satay and fresh veggie spring rolls. Little did I know an app surprise would soon be revealed when I tore into my takeout bag. More on that in a minute.
My decision to order the pan fried rice noodle (wide rice noodle pan fried with egg, mixed vegetables and brown sauce with chicken for $10.95) was a superb one because it killed three birds with one stone: It satisfied my “waited too long to eat” hunger, took to me the happy place reserved for noodle consumption and was an excellent V.D.S. (vegetable delivery system). Judge me if you must, but despite being in my 40s, I still have a childlike relationship with vegetables and never eat as many as I should. But when they’re an element of things like a steak salad, an omelet or, in this instance, an order of pan fried rice noodle, I’ll eat my veggies like a rock star without complaint.
On this particular day, I opted for takeout, but next time around, I’ll eat in because the space is bright and welcoming and if it’s nice out, I’ll for sure sit on the deck and watch the world go by in downtown Westbrook.
Back at the office, I plunked myself down at my desk and, since I’m clumsy with chopsticks, ate my noodles with a fork and didn’t stop until the container was empty. Along with plenty of chicken, egg and tasty brown sauce, this kid ate her veggies in the form of pea pods, onion, broccoli, carrots and even a few basil leaves.
Before calling in my order, I tossed out an “Anyone want anything?” to those within earshot, and a co-worker chimed in with a request for the Mien Gà chicken clear noodle soup ($10.95). I was happy, of course, to do this and traded the favor of being the food courier to her reporting back with a few notes on her lunch. Turns out I wasn’t only the one who had liked my order. She reported that she’d definitely go to Veranda again because she appreciated that the broth and bean thread noodles made for a slightly lighter alternative to pho. She also gave a nod to the lettuce and bean sprouts that made the dish feel even healthier while adding freshness and crunch. The jalapeño slices and side of sriracha gave the dish an added kick. In takeout form, the noodles and vegetables were in one container and the broth and chicken in another, so it may take some maneuvering, but my co-worker said that there was plenty of food for two.
One last thing, while unpacking the order I was happy to find they had thrown in a complimentary sample of crab rangoon. Believe you me, these were thoroughly enjoyed.
WHERE: 672 Main St., Westbrook. (207) 856-9000. verandakitchenbar.com
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
WAIT: Less then 10 minutes
PARKING: Small lot and on-street parking available
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes, there’s a side entrance with a ramp