Cozy Noodles & Rice: Darn Cute Decor, but Mediocre Food

FullSizeRender (23)Cozy Noodles & Rice aims to create a loving atmosphere for its customers with a whimsical decor, but ultimately fails to capture a crowd with its mediocre food.

Still, it seems like Northwestern students can’t get enough of Cozy – or rather, of Cozy’s atmosphere. I have a few hunches.

Cozy is conveniently BYOB, a factor strongly considered by many college students when they decide to go out for a meal.

The restaurant is also reasonably priced, with most entrees costing less than 10 dollars. If you order smartly, you may find yourself a great deal: cheap food in a short amount of time. They do online ordering as well as delivery meals.

The front counter is eclectic, a transparent plexiglass counter with soup and vegetable cans stacked on top of one another. One person’s is another’s treasure?

The walls are covered in random tchotchkes, from animal figurines to road signs to vintage lunch boxes. This place is a hoarder’s paradise, but surprisingly, the decor isn’t overwhelming.

When I was trying to brainstorm adjectives to describe this restaurant’s atmosphere, I kept thinking of words that began with c: colorful and a bit cluttered, but ultimately comfy.

One might even say that it’s pretty…cozy.

I give the decor of this restaurant an A+, as it is right up my alley. Whoever designed this joint pays a lot of attention to details, something you might notice as you eat your meal on beautiful mosaic pattern tables.

Apparently Cozy gets pretty busy and crowded on the weekends, but on the Tuesday evening when Lisette and I visited, there were only two or three other tables occupied.

I ordered a taro slushie bubble tea ($3.50), but was extremely disappointed with what I received. The drink’s chalkiness and manufactured taste hinted that it was made from a powder mix, and the bubbles tasted like they were sitting in a vat all day, based on the tapioca’s uneven and unpleasant texture.

FullSizeRender (25)While the wait for food was less than seven minutes, I found that I should not have looked forward to much. After all, you get what you wait for. The Rama dish ($7.95) I ordered had crunchy broccoli and chicken that tasted like it had been frozen for quite some tie. The whole dish leaned towards lukewarm, which means that it was probably not cooked, but rather heated up shortly before it arrived at our table. Seven minutes is too fast for your food to be fresh…

The sweet peanut sauce helped to liven up the dish a bit, but the consistency of the shredded carrot scattered on top made me think it was soaked in cold water to prevent it from drying out. This method can be effective, but the art is in presenting it in a way that this is not too obvious.

Entrees at Cozy come with a complimentary scoop of white rice, but you can also opt for brown rice if you want to pay an extra dollar.

FullSizeRender (24)Lisette ordered Pad Thai ($7.75), a dish that she customized with her choice of protein. The sauce had a hint of fish sauce, which is delicious and common in Pad Thai sauces, but normally doesn’t come across as strongly as Cozy’s did.

The portions here are decent considering the price, though I would not deem it exceedingly generous. You get more bang for your buck if you eat there for lunch, as they have lunch special dishes for $6.95.

At the end of the day, the food at Cozy is questionable. The menu does not seem to stray from the classic Asian fusion dishes like Pad Thai, egg rolls, and pot stickers. I question the freshness of the food, as well as the authenticity of the restaurant, but I can understand the decision of college students to continue eating their food because though the quality is mediocre, the service is great, it’s cheap and quick, and the place is just so darn cute.

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