We received 2 complimentary entrees at Houlihan's from their Inspiralized Menu via our affiliation with Influenster. We were not asked to create a positive review nor compensated to do so. All opinions are our own.
First off--What is #HouZoodles at Houlihan's? A "zoodle" is a pasta-shaped creation made from zucchini and used in traditional (and not-so-traditional) pasta dishes. Houlihan's has made a wonderful match with Ali Maffucci--the creator and mastermind behind the Inspiralized.com site http://inspiralized.com/ where she gets creative (and healthy) with a vegetable spiralizer and offers up recipes, tips, meal plans, cookbooks and more. Houlihan's and Maffucci have joined forces to offer an "Inspiralized Menu" of three dishes on the Houlihan's restaurant menu. The Inspiralized Menu at Houlihan's offerings include a Butternut Squash and Sausage Lasagna, a Thai'Noodle' Salad, and a Sweet Potato, Corn & Bacon Mexicali Flatbread.
What did we think of Houlihan's in Upper Arlington? Houlihan's sits sort of in the middle of a handful of strip malls and shopping centers. The parking lot is shared with an adjacent strip mall--but, is large and easy to access. The front entrance was staffed by a friendly host and hostess. We were promptly seated and our server arrived quickly and produced our initial drink order promptly as well. Our server was polite, well spoken, and extremely knowledgeable about the menu offerings. We knew what we wanted to order--but, it was nice to know that she was able and willing to offer extra details and recommendations. The atmosphere is a nice mix of casual/business casual/business during a weekday lunch. There were many older couples enjoying lunch alongside local business diners and younger couples or friends. The restaurant was fairly quiet and dimmed for a relaxing meal.
How was the Inspiralized Menu at Houlihan's? I love lasagna--so choosing the Butternut Squash and Sausage Lasagna was my plan from the moment I saw the menu. My husband loves Thai food--so ordering the Thai 'Noodle' Salad was a sure bet--and adding the grilled salmon was a given. Before I "review" our meals--I do want to say that I sub vegetables into my recipes at home with regularity and using squash, zucchini, carrots, and such in unexpected ways are not "unusual" or "different" for us. What did we think of our selections from the Inspiralized Menu at Houlihan's?
The Butternut Squash and Sausage Lasagna
This dish is created from spiralized butternut squash ‘noodles,’ herbed ricotta, Italian sausage, sautéed organic kale-spinach-chard blend, marinara & mozzarella cheese. It is servedwith a pesto zucchini ‘noodle’ side salad.
I did not miss traditional lasagna noodles at all in this dish. The sausage, cheeses and spices blend perfectly with the butternut squash and the deep fried sage leaves are wonderful with the dish.
The pesto zucchini ‘noodle’ side salad was delicious.
The Thai 'Noodle' Salad
This dish is created from a Sriracha Thai peanut sauce tossed with spiralized fresh zucchini ‘noodles,’mango, red peppers, snow peas, tri-colored quinoa, basil, mint,and almonds.
It wasn't as "spicy" as many Sriracha dishes seem--so do not avoid it due to spice. Adding a meat protein, in addition to the almonds and the peanut sauce, was a win for my husband. The salmon was delicious and, after following the server's recommendation of adding extra lime juice, it was even better.
Is Houlihan's in Upper Arlington family friendly? Yes and no. While it is a "casual" restaurant, there were no children present during our weekday lunch at 1 p.m. There is no obvious children's menu and the pricing and food offerings lend toward a more adult dining experience. Those visiting with children will not be offended by a rowdy bar area or a questionable atmosphere. While I wouldn't call it "unfriendly" for families--I would probably recommend it only for those with older children or for special occasions.
Would I recommend the #HouZoodles Inspiralized Menu and Houlian's in Upper Arlington? I loved that we could meet there for lunch in a casual--yet more reserved--environment. I would certainly meet my husband there again or take friends for lunch or dinner. We both enjoyed the food. We also paid attention to other dishes served around us and there was a wide range of options ordered. We didn't hear complaints, we didn't see any problems or poor service (which is a rarity these days). It was a nice lunch, a relaxing atmosphere, good food and an overall, positive experience. I would certainly recommend Houlihan's--and I would suggest the Inspiralized menu to anyone seeking a carb alternative to pasta at a local restaurant. The dishes were both delicious and may just "inspire" me to buy a spiralizer of my own!
Learn more about the restaurants, menus and sites featured here:
Houlihan's Inspiralized Menu
Inspiralized by Ali Maffucci