Showing posts with label beef pho. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beef pho. Show all posts

Toronto Pho for Delivery

Note: Prices in post are based on regular menu prices and may be higher when using delivery services

For some people, the fall is signified by breaking out the boots and scarves; or for the youth, going back to school. In my books, it’s the return of bowls of steaming noodles and broth. My internal clock, which happens to be my stomach, yearns for it as soon as September hits. So, it wasn’t surprising to my husband when I announced that pizza was out, and pho was in.

Having followed Toronto Pho on Instagram for the better part of the year, they were the first company I called. Turns out they retired their own delivery service and now goes through Uber and Door Dash, so a quick zap of the app and my bowl of noods was on the way.

A deep-fried spring roll ($5.75 for two) goes with pho like cookies with milk. Sadly, Toronto Pho’s roll incorporates way too much taro, turning the filling into a crumbly bland mush. It didn’t help that the salt was non-existent, so all the flavours came from the sweet thin dipping sauce. Seriously, the frozen ones from the supermarket are better.

I’d go with the grilled rolls instead, our chicken version ($6.95 for two) was absolutely delicious, a bundle of vermicelli with bean sprouts and mint leaves, wrapped in lettuce, and then layered with grilled chicken and wrapped in a chewy rice sheet. The double roll helped keep the noodles soft while adding an extra crunch after getting through the soft rice wrapper. Meanwhile, the marinated grilled chicken had enough flavour but was further augmented by the savoury peanut sauce on the side.

The starters helped keep me satisfied while I heated up the broth in a pot and zapped the noodles in the microwave. Taking the five minutes to do this really helps enhance the experience. After all, I’m craving a steaming hot bowl of noodles… not lukewarm broth with clumped pho.

Toronto Pho’s broth packs a strong punch of spices (star anise and cinnamon?) and is seasoned well without becoming overwhelming. While Pho is never overly heavy, Toronto Pho’s soup feels extra “clear”, almost like a consommé than bone broth. It’s delicious, just not necessarily hearty.

The noodles remained chewy having been separated from the soup and there were plenty of toppings included with the bowl – the typical bean sprouts, Thai basil, and lime, but also a long leafy lettuce type vegetable and onions as well. Yum! I love the mix of herbs with pho.

They also didn’t skimp on the beef, there was plenty of it and soft tendon ($12.50) in my bowl. My only complaint was there was a thick end slice of the meat left with everything. Have you ever tried chewing through a cheap cut of lean beef that’s been sitting in transit for a while? Thank god I have the jaws of life.

I do have to give credit to Toronto Pho for using paper containers for their noodles and broth (sadly not the rolls, which is strange as there are plenty of small paper box options) and helping the environment.  While the experience wasn’t stellar, it nonetheless satisfied my “it’s-becoming-fall” stomach, and there will be plenty of grilled rolls and noodles in my future.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: Various locations
 Delivery: Uber and Doordash
Referral Discount Codes
 Support the blog by using my referral code
 UberEats: use eats-ju6ta to get $5 off a $15 order 
 DoorDash: click link to get $20 off

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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!


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Angus Pho House (Toronto) for delivery

Note: Prices in post are based on regular menu prices and may be higher when using delivery services

Trust me, your pho will taste a whole lot better if you take the time to re-heat the broth in a pot and add the noodles to the boiling broth to loosen everything before eating.

I learned this the hard way when getting Angus Pho House delivered to my place. Finding everything felt hot, I merely took the broth and added it to the Angus rare beef rice noodle soup ($9.95 for small) and tucked in. The noodles stuck together in a clump and the broth went from hot to lukewarm in no time. This is not how pho should be enjoyed.

A nuke in the microwave improved things a bit, yet it still wasn’t the same. Since we received such a large portion of noodles (with the small being so big, how can anyone get through a large?), I had enough for another meal the next day. After reheating the soup in a pot and adding the noodles (microwaved first) for a quick swirl, everything was so much more enjoyable.

Strangely, Angus Pho puts the rare beef into the hot broth instead of laying it onto the noodles when delivering. What arrives are very well-done pieces of lean meat. In the future, an order of plain pho noodles with a grilled protein seems like a better choice. If you really want shaved beef, I suggest opting for a brisket instead, which has a bit of fat to keep it moist.

The soup to noodle ratio is also off, there seems to be more noodles than when you dine in but only 70% of the broth so you can’t really drink big spoonful’s of the hearty savoury bone broth. Indeed, by the next day, there was only about a cup of soup left, I had to dilute it and add salt to stretch enough for another meal. Not a drop was wasted.

Surprisingly, the Vietnamese style spring rolls ($6.95) didn’t suffer through the delivery process. They were crispy and delicious, just a tad cooler than the scalding hot rolls you’d find at the restaurant. Angus’ moist fluffy filling of yellow beans and pork is so delicious. Unless you’re vegetarian or going gluten-free, these are a must add-on.

While Angus Pho provides a sizeable bag of bean sprouts and Thai basil, my body was craving vegetables so an order of Chinese greens with oyster sauce ($6.95) was necessary. The menu describes these as being stir-fried but it’s actually plain boiled gai lan. Luckily, we also ordered stir-fried Chinese greens with garlic sauce ($11.95) and since these were fairly salty and saucy, we could add the plain gai lan into the dish to calm everything down.  

Let’s be honest, pho just isn’t the same when delivered. But with a bit of effort, it’s still something that can be enjoyed at home, even with the diluted broth.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 5443 Yonge Street
 Delivery: Uber and Skip the Dishes
Referral Discount Codes
 Support the blog by using my referral code
 UberEats: use eats-ju6ta to get $5 off a $15 order 
 SkipTheDishes: click link to get $5 off a $15 order
 

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never order again
  • 6 - decent for delivery and takeout, but there's better
  • 7 - this is good, for delivery and takeout
  • 8 - great for delivery and takeout, it's almost like you're in a restaurant
  • 9 -  wow, it's like I'm eating at a restaurant
  • 10 - I'd happily order this for delivery or takeout instead of dining in any day!


Is That It? I Want More!

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CLOSED: Asian District (Dubai)


I will forever be grateful to Asian District for saving our New Year’s Eve celebration in Dubai. To make a long story short, because of the ineptitude of a Platinum List event coordinator, we found ourselves being told on the night of - at 9pm (!) - that the event was cancelled. Imagine … standing in your New Year’s best, in a foreign country, and being told that you need to find something else. Certainly, it’s not the end of the world, but surely ruins a buzz.


After a few frantic calls, Asian District saved the day and was able to provide us with an outdoor table so we can celebrate the night and watch the fireworks display. Better yet, they didn’t even raise their prices above the typical AED395 a person for the all-you-can-eat and unlimited house drinks deal. Indeed, it turned into an indulgent evening of food and drink.

Asian District offers an AYCE menu where the dishes are brought to your table. For those who don’t want to consume to the max there is an a-la-carte option as well (prices included in this post for information). It’s an extensive menu covering Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine so getting through the booklet can be a time consuming affair. So, let me help you with some of the top dishes of the night:

You can’t go wrong with the chicken green curry (AED62). It’s a safe choice and ideal for those who want that flavourful coconut sauce without too much heat.


Their dynamite roll (AED38) isn’t a typical maki filled with a tempura shrimp. Instead, it’s like an elevated spicy salmon that made us want another bite.


The wasabi prawns (ADE72) was a decent dish, plump deep fried battered shrimp tossed in a light wasabi mayo, I just wish I had them hotter – the perils of eating outdoors. Even the salt and pepper squid (AED56) was good, if you don’t mind that the batter is a bit too thick.


Other dishes could have been done better. The skin on the Peking duck (AED88 for a quarter) was so soggy that it tasted like you’re having reheated roast duck in the microwave.  At least their garnishes and wrapper were made thin enough.


The chicken skewers (AED56) needed more satay; there was very little flavours other than the peanut sauce.

While the pad Thai’s (AED56) flavours was okay – a nice balance of sweet and sour – the noodles stuck together in a clump and there seemed to be something missing from the dish, it could have been a lack of fish sauce as there wasn’t that lovely umami essence.


If you’re going to have pho, I’d skip the protein and just go vegetarian as the beef in the beef pho (AED46) was way too thick. The broth is a cross between the traditional bone broth and the soy sauce laced beef noodle variety. While not terrible, it’s just not what you’re expecting when you have a spoon of soup.


In general, I found Asian District relies too much on soy sauce. The hot and sour soup (AED32) incorporated so much of the condiment that it wasn’t edible.


Given we visited on New Year’s Eve, it’s difficult to gauge their service levels. That evening, it was slow and they forgot a dish (the plain stir fried bok choy I was craving), but the restaurant was completely packed. And we were disappointed that the desserts never arrived, so we couldn’t taste the mango sticky rice the other tables were raving about. Nonetheless, their staff was friendly and they were on point with bringing out the drinks.

At the very least, they saved the night by feeding us a filling meal, plied us with tons of alcohol, and provided an amazing vantage point for fireworks. Thank you Asian District for a wonderful New Year’s Eve.  

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
 Address: The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah - Al Mirziban
 

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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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  • Mr. Miyagi



CLOSED: Pho V Express (Toronto)


Walking along Avenue on a piercingly cold day, seeing Pho V Express was like seeing a water mirage in the desert. While it’s definitely new to the area, stepping through the doors I couldn’t help but get a sense of déjà vu. There’s colourful blue and green lanterns hanging by the window, rich dark high top tables, and décor hanging on the walls that’s generally not found at pho places. Yet, I felt like I’ve seen the set-up before.


It wasn’t until the owner launched into a lengthy monologue explaining Pho V Express only uses organic meats (while striving to do the same with vegetables) and non-MSG broth that I remember why I’ve heard it before. Glancing down at the logo on the sticker holding together the chopsticks it finally clicked - this is the second location of Pho Vistro.

It’s confusing why they decided to change the name for their uptown location - Pho Vistro actually sounds better and seems to be a better fit with the neighbourhood. Also, to be an “express” version of the original, things need to be faster. From my experience, the service speed was exactly the same.


Regardless, the hot bowl of noodles hit the spot. Maybe it had something to do with the frigid temperatures, but the classic beef pho ($11.50) was tastier than I remember: the broth richer and more seasoned. Compared to other establishments, it certainly tastes healthier. The soup doesn’t merely rely on bone broth, rather also contains star anise and cinnamon that gives off such a lovely aroma. The soup is so flavourful that I didn’t even need siracha sauce; after using a small dollop at the start, I refrained from adding more as I found took away from the broth’s natural flavours. 


Their beef is also leaner. A combination of brisket and rib-eye round, the brisket goes really well with the noodles but the round is shaved so thinly that it breaks apart and tastes grainy, especially when you near to bottom half of the bowl (the granules in the soup is a bit off putting). In the future, I’ll have to remember to ask if I can only get brisket.

Another ingredient that will take some getting used to, is the spindly Ontario bean sprouts. Whereas sprouts in other restaurants are added for a textual element, these lack crunch and taste a lot like alfalfa sprouts giving a slightly bitter grassiness to the pho.


The fried chicken spring rolls ($5.50) contained a lot of colourful thinly grated vegetables but minimal chicken. The lack of meat isn’t a problem for me, but the addition of mung beans gave the otherwise delicious roll a slightly mushy and coarse texture that you don’t normally expect when biting into a spring roll. Be warned.


Pho V Express is a good option for vegans as their rolls and most of the noodle dishes are offered with a vegan preparation. And it’s sort of nice to leave the restaurant feeling warm, full, and feel like you’ve enjoyed something healthy. 

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1923 Avenue Road


Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Pho Vistro (Toronto)


Somehow when you hear the tranquil Green Sleeves playing while perched on the high top table, you know Pho Vistro does things differently. The dining room is a step up from the no-frills sparse tables where the condiments are centerpieces. Their menu to the point; there’s no spiraling notebook where the combination of proteins and offal is dizzying.

Pho Vistro focuses on pho – chicken, beef or vegan – either served in soup or dried form. There are also a few appetizers: the Vietnamese-style ribs ($6) arrives in singular form - a huge hunk of beef glazed with sweet hoisin that's tender with a bit of bite. It's just difficult to share so get one for yourself.


Their lunch special ($12) is a decent portion, consisting of a bowl of pho and spring roll (or and imperial roll for a healthier non-fried version). Unlike other restaurants that relies heavily on mung bean noodles or yellow beans, Pho Vistro’s roll contains plenty of finely slivered vegetables so you taste more than just crisp dough and starch.


Their soup contains no MSG and instead relies on boiling bones and herbs for over a day to develop its flavour. On the first sip, I could taste the difference – the broth seemed bland, but the flavours slowly built on the tongue. It’s atypical since the soup relies more on spices than salt. Without the MSG, many reviewers claim they weren’t thirsty afterwards; maybe it's the hoisin or sriracha, but I still downed a full bottle.


The noodles are cooked well, but the portion really skimpy. Typically, I order a small bowl at other restaurants and even I was left wanting more (extra noodles is definitely required). Their beef arrives in large thin slices and was really lean and healthy. However, the organic bean sprouts takes some getting used to as they’re rather shriveled and the concentrated flavour tastes similar to alfalfa sprout.  


I appreciate the healthy spin of Pho Vistro, but admittedly miss the fulsome rich salty beefiness of traditional pho. It’s good, just different. Let the evolution begin.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 259 King Street West

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Pho Vistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pho 88 (North York)

Location: North York, Canada
Address: 5197 Yonge Street
Website: http://www.pho88.ca/
Type of Meal: Dinner 


There’s no hiding it … I love pho. Something about the rich but not overly heavy broth, thin noodles and simple ingredients makes me happy. It’s the first thing I crave when I return home from a long vacation. There’s an abundance of it around the city and prices are unbelievably low for something that tastes so good! But, not every place makes it great – you can refer to this post for my top picks.

One evening my friends and I needed a quick dinner and found the line at Kinton Ramen way too long. Luckily, Pho 88 was just doors away and held promise for the same thing we craved – a big bowl of noodles and broth. Until this occasion, I’ve only been to Pho 88’s Scarborough location, which has always satisfied me. But, after eating at the North York location I wonder if they are even related given their menu and taste differs so much.

The spring roll platter ($11) was an enticing starter. Included were a good selection of the traditional favourites: deep fried chicken spring rolls, deep fried shrimp rolls and fresh cold shrimp rolls. On the side, a trio of sauces: peanut & chili, sweet chili Thai and a Vietnamese vinaigrette.


We weren’t impressed with the platter. The two fried versions could have been hotter. It’s either because it wasn't cooked long enough or there being too many layers of wrapper, but there was a doughiness to the roll’s inside. Additionally, there was too much filler (taro and yellow beans) such that the chicken was barely recognizable and even the shrimp rolls contained some. The cold roll was worse – the noodles were hard and the shrimp not at its freshest.

My pho, the plain rare and well-done beef ($6.75 for the small shown below; $7.75 for medium or $8.75 for large), was a touch better. But, it was really was just a hair better. The broth was a tad watery lacking that deep beef bone essence you’d expect. The beef was decent and lean but there was but a few slices and for a bowl that’s supposed to contain rare and well-done it arrived looking the same. The noodles were fine and the one saving grace to the meal.  


So, yes, I love pho. But, I’m definitely not in love with Pho 88’s North York location.

Overall mark - 5.5 out of 10

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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!



Pho Mi Asia (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 1008 Wilson Avenue

Type of Meal: Dinner 


Having only visited pho places in Scarborough, I was delighted to find on Blog.TO information about a decent establishment located a short drive from my place.  Pho Mi Asia is like many other restaurants – situated in a strip mall with sparse but functional furnishing.  None of that matter since pho is not about the atmosphere but rather tastes.

Sticking with my regular small well done beef and tendon ($5.50) it arrived looking rather small.  Admittedly, I was a bit surprised as in reading reviews most people comment on their huge portions of meat.  During my visit, I found this really wasn’t the case and the bowl was actually tinier than the other places I visit.  Nonetheless, the noodles were cooked well and not overdone, the soup base decent & not too oily and the beef lean & tender.


The spring rolls ($4) were too dense, in my opinion, due to all the yellow beans added to the filling.  So, despite the wrapper being crispy and thin, the spring roll felt heavy.  Additionally, they were very hard to find on the menu so we ended up ordering the wrong ones (rice paper rolls instead) and had to ask them to switch; luckily they were nice about it and were willing to replace the order.

Not being entirely satisfied after the bowl of pho, we decided to order a slushy drink.  I opted for the sweet red bean, coconut cream and jelly ($3.50) hoping to reconnect with the taste of my childhood.  Arriving in a plastic cup it didn’t look the most appealing on account to the green jelly and dark bottom – I sort of felt like I was eating dirt and grass.
Strangely, in lieu of the smaller Asian red beans that are normally used in desserts, Pho Mi Asia used gigantic kidney beans.  Sure, they were still soft and slightly sweet from the syrup but it was a bit off putting.  The only highlight to the drink was that they did add thick coconut cream (instead of ice cream and evaporated milk) which did care a nice luxuriant feel.

All in all, it’s an adequate establishment to visit if you happen to be in the area. But, not good enough that I’d make it the place I go to.  For all my pho cravings, I’ll still be heading to Pho Metro or Pho 88. 

Overall mark - 6 out of 10


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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!