Noodle Tuesday: Gluten-free at Godmother Pasta

Japanese "Napolitain"

In the August HONOLULU issue, Lesa Griffith rounds up vegan and gluten-free options on Oahu. As more and more of the population turns to these options, for reasons ranging from health to environment to moral concerns (at least in the case of veganism—I have yet to hear anyone make a case for the soul and suffering of wheat), Biting Commentary will spend part of the month exploring additional places that offer vegan and/or gluten-free dishes.

First stop: Godmother Pasta, newly opened in Shirokiya's Yataimura. It's like a takeout Japanese-Italian version of Olive Garden. On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese, you won't find meatballs, but teriyaki chicken and even natto and poke. Noodles are made fresh here, with a gluten-free option of brown rice noodles (for a $2.80 surcharge). Taste-wise, they're fine, with a slight hint of whole-grain flavor and mouthfeel similar to soba. While the texture lacks the bounce and elasticity of flour noodles—the noodles can be brittle—I imagine they'd be noodle nirvana to the gluten-intolerant seeking something more pasta-like than soft rice noodles or chewy Korean buckwheat noodles (among the other gluten-free noodle options out in the world).

Mentaiko cream pasta

I don't recommend taking the pasta to go; these quick-cooking noodles can get mushy pretty quickly. But no matter what, even if they're eaten right away, they'll never have the chew of al dente pasta.

As far as toppings, avoid the Japanese "Napolitain," ($8.80) unless the idea of hot dogs and ketchup on spaghetti entices you. Better is the mentaiko cream pasta ($9.80), salty and fishy with roe and sprinkled with shiso and nori.

Godmother Pasta in Shirokiya's Yataimura, 973-9111