Blink and you might miss Rock‘N’oodles. Tucked away on Third Street just south of Charleston, this 12-person alcove with walls lined with record covers offers an imaginative menu with dish names paying homage to rock classics. Sweet Home Alabama ($9.50) was a hit for Lynyrd Skynyrd, and it’s one for Rock‘N’oodles, too, immersing bacon in a smoked gouda sauce with popcorn chicken on macaroni. With a hint of slightly sugary barbecue sauce, each forkful is an addictive combination of smoky and sweet. Buffalo Soldier ($9.75) sounds like a reggae riff on pasta, but it’s actually an ode to the upstate New York city with spicy chicken nuggets awash in a hearty blue cheese sauce. This is a dish that’ll stick with you in a good way.
For more ethereal flavors, Ray of Light ($9.75) combines pancetta, pine nuts and asparagus in a sharp white wine sauce atop penne. While there are salad options, remember this joint isn’t called Rockin’ Greens. Stick to the namesake noodles. This new Downtown eatery would be more impressive if the kitchen served house-made pasta, but it’s still a creative concept and another welcome addition to the neighborhood.
Rock‘N’oodles 1108 S. Third St., 522-9953. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.