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Archive for the ‘Chinatown’ Category

Remember when you were a kid, and your parents took you to McDonald’s? You remember ordering the kid’s meal, not because it was a better deal and you cared about your parents’ ability to contribute to your college fund? Oh no, you ordered it because it came with a toy! Well, in the month of October, we gathered the troops and headed to Pho Le.

Located in a cavernous upstairs unit accessible from inside a old-school courtyard in Chinatown, Pho Le is definitely not an easy place to find. However, when we entered, we were welcomed by Christmas lights (..it wasn’t Christmas), fake plants, and a definite “Chinatown chic” vibe to it. The interior was surprisingly large, although it was rather empty at 1pm on a Sunday, with only one other table occupied – that is, unless you count the fruit flies (ick). The emptiness may have also contributed to the temperature (cold), although it was positive that it had long opening hours (9am-8pm) and it had large windows all along the wall gave a view of… well, Chinatown.

But we’re not here for the view, nor the decor, we’re here for the pho!

Pho Le Pho!

The pho came with a good quantity of beef, sliced thin and rare; and the beef balls were good. However, the “well-done flank” pho that one of our members ordered seemed more like just cooked versions of the rare beef slices. That’s not flank! Just like how a kid can tell when you try to substitute a bran cookie for a chocolate chip cookie, we can tell when flank isn’t flank. Grr..

The pho was a bit unusual in that it came with daikon, and the broth was well over-seasoned, leaving a bit of a dry feeling in our mouths. Perhaps that’s from the slightly higher-than-average prices, although there was an extra-value-meal option that came with a spring roll. Unfortunately, that roll came out pretty hard – instead of the crispy and flavourful spring roll we had hoped for.

The usual sides came with the pho: red chili, lime, basil, raw sprouts. Unfortunately there seemed to be a global blight of sprouts here, because they only gave a small portion of sprouts. Service was slow while our orders were being made (perhaps the waiter was also the chef?), which meant it was hard to get more sprouts.

Here’s our review of the Pho!

One size: $7.00-$7.75 (though $-saving combo is offerred)
Beef: good quantity, sliced thin and rare, but “flank” is just well-done beef slices
Noodles: not memorable, average
Broth: very salty
Presentation: not memorable, average

Overall: 6 out of 10

Pho Le on Urbanspoon

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le-pho-bistro-21

photo courtesy of the knight after's flickr site

I drive by Le Pho Bistro on 406 East Hastings Street everyday on my way to and back from work .  Despite it being in a sketchy part of town (and next to a methodone clinic), I had to give it a try because I’ve read good reviews about it as well.  Afterall, good pho is good pho!

le-pho-bistro-20

We were feeling a bit iffy about going in because the windows had bars and were tinted.  The interior, however, seemed to be quite clean and spacious.  They have signs promoting free wireless internet….woot!  Here’s a picture of the view from within.

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One thing I noticed on the menu is that they have quite a large vegetarian selection.  This is one of the rare places that serve veggie pho!

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Here’s a quick recap of the pho:

Price: 5.49 for a small bowl and 6.50 for a large

The portions here were smaller compared to other places.  It had 5 slices of beef in a small pho tai and not much noodles.  The beef was very tender.  The broth was on the salty side and MSG levels were medium-high.  The final ratings for the pho were across the board- some gave it a high score of 8 and it also went as low as a 4!  The average score was 6.

Have you been to Le Pho Bistro/ Hanoi Pho?  Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Hanoi Pho Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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