Last weekend, I craved for pho. It was a cold and miserable couple of days, and we took the opportunity to go out for soup during the 2 hour-window that the sun sort-of peaked. I remembered passing by a pho restaurant on Gerrard and thought it was time to try it. We know that there’s a plethora of pho places over at Broadview and Gerrard, but we wanted somewhere more local (and with parking). Try getting a parking spot in Little Chinatown on weekends — not worth it to destroy my chill weekend mode.
So, on that note, we headed over, and tried out Pho 168.
The Skinny: Stuff we liked…
- The pho. Good enough to quickly satisfy a craving, but want to stay in the neighbourhood. I ordered the rare beef, tendon and tripe (PH10 on the menu)– my usual go-to favourite at any pho restaurants. Broth is good, and has enough complexity to keep me interested. Nothing earth-shattering, but satisfying enough. Fat content is good, and it’s not too salty.
- The service. It’s fast-fast. Everything must have arrived about 5 minutes after we ordered. That’s always a bonus. It’s hard to sit in aromatic Vietnamese restaurants waiting for food, as your stomach grumbles amidst all the delicious food smells.
- The Vermicelli Dish. The husband ordered the Beef wrapped in betel leaves, with bean curd shrimp and sausage (BH2 on the menu) . It was also good, but it’s your average vermicelli dish fare, except for the beef wrapped in betel leaves — those were extra good.
The Skinny: Room for Improvement
- The pho. Yes, it’s in both categories. Although I liked the broth, the meat arrived “not rare” and all stuck together in a weird, hard ball. The tripe tasted a tad overcooked, and I had to search for a tendon piece. Much room for improvement here.
- The deep fried shrimp rolls (K03 on the menu). Do not order this. Just don’t. It’s not shrimp, and frankly tasteless. Not worth the calories.
The Verdict: I will return, but only if my craving is for any pho within a 5 minute drive radius, or say… I was shopping at Gerrard Square, and in the area anyway.
- If I want real pho for the soul, I would head to Pho Tien Than on Ossington and Queen. We used to live in the area, and they honestly have the best pho I have ever tasted (and I have tried pho in many neighbourhoods — from east end to the west end, from one chinatown to the other, to Scarborough, Markham, and beyond).