We’ve been to a few Vietnamese restaurants in Toronto and one in Montreal and its the only restaurant nationality I’ve ever seen the self-serve order check! The menu items are all labelled with numbers and you write your item number, size and price on the form. There is NO TALKING. Now my friend Barb, from Profiteroles and Ponytails can attest, I’m not a big fan of small talk – but I must admit, I find this custom is quite strange! Even the Japanese establishments we frequent with freshly landed Japanese wait-staff suffer through the language difficulties without the order-by-number form. Is this custom world-wide? Do other cultures use it? Please do comment and let me know!
My favourite Vietnamese place close to work (Asia 21) know me as #102 small, I don’t even have to order. I just walk in (OK, I fill out the form, but she places the order to the kitchen before I fill it out) hand the lady my cash (they don’t take credit or debit) and they hand me my soup to go. Rare Beef Pho (pronounced Fa). I could eat this every day, except for the sodium content (my rings are tight even thinking about it!)
Pho Huong is a relatively upscale Vietnamese restaurant; it has great lighting and very nice contemporary décor (compared to Asia 21 which still has light blue ‘fake ship motif’ décor, remnants from the predecessor Greek place, and fluorescent lighting). And, it’s close to our hood, it’s a bit further north than Bloor West Village in The Junction. It’s usually packed and this past Saturday was no different. JT and I stopped in for lunch because it was a drizzly, snowy grey day and I wanted soup! And they give you free tea!
I order the Pho with rare beef; I love this soup because it takes time to eat it. First, you have to add all of the inclusions: sorrel, thai basil, a squirt of lime, bean sprouts (if you wish, I usually don’t) and Sriracha Sauce and Hoisin Sauce. JT’s polished off half his lunch before I even start! And then the soup is really, really hot, so you can’t guzzle (not that I would :-P).
Overall rating of Pho Huong (in my opinion. I’m rating this compared to other Asian restaurants in Toronto): Decor 4/5, service 3.5/5, food 4/5, Value 4/5, Noise: 5/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being very quiet).
Disclaimer: We purchased our meal for full price and my opinions just that, my opinions.