Feb 25, 2015

Review: Panera Bread - Soba Noodle Broth Bowl with Chicken

Panera Bread's Soba Noodle Broth Bowl with Chicken features sliced chicken, soba buckwheat noodles, fresh spinach, napa cabbage blend, roasted mushroom and onion blend, sesame seeds, and cilantro in umami soy-miso broth.

It's normally $8.99 for a bowl in my area but I received this courtesy of Panera.

Like most Panera entrees, there's a choice of a baguette, chips, or apple. I went with the baguette. It was slightly crusty, chewy, and fairly fresh. I enjoyed it on its own as well as to sop up the broth.

The umami soy-miso broth reminds me a little of a very mellow Thai tom yum soup or a milder version of Korean Shin Ramyun instant noodle broth (looking at the ingredients of the broth bowl, it's described as "Korean broth"). There's a bit of a tang, a slight hint of heat, and a general lightness to it. The broth appears to be vegetarian with a miso base, which means it lacks that savory beef or chicken quality.

There was a good amount of chicken in the bowl and it was moist and tender. Unfortunately, the chicken is seasoned with a citrus and pepper blend that clashed a little with the broth and didn't quite fit right for me.

The noodles were really nice with a firm, resilient quality to them. Unlike the chicken, they have a neutral flavor that works with the broth just fine.

The vegetables were a mixed bag. Generally, they all had a distinctive flavor and texture but, like the chicken, didn't quite mesh with the broth. The mushrooms in particular had a strong presence.

Overall, Panera Bread's Soba Noodle Broth Bowl with Chicken was decent. It feels more like they've taken existing ingredients and tried to shoehorn them with the new broth. Individually, I liked the flavors and the noodles but, for the most part, the dish was less than the sum of its parts. It does feel pretty healthy though, with all the various vegetables.

Nutritional Info - Panera Bread Soba Noodle Bowl with Chicken
Calories - 390 (from Fat - 80)
Fat - 9g (Saturated Fat - 1.5g)
Sodium - 1340mg
Carbs - 47g (Sugar - 4g)
Protein - 31g

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