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Peach Garden Express - really good pho

grandgourmand Sep 2, 2008 08:00 AM

I just wanted to write up a little review on what's become my go-to for vietnamese cuisine. It's called Peach Garden Express, located at 1018 Gerrard St. E. That's just a little east of the Home Depot at Gerrard Square, in a little strip mall. Every now and then, usually after a night of drinking, I get a serious urge for a restorative broth, and this place's pho sure fits the bill. I've had the rare beef soup a few times. A huge bowl, like most pho places, and one that doesn't disapoint. The broth has a wonderful depth and the odd pieces of beef and bone (have had marrow a couple times) really make a good soup. If you're into spicy, the hue style (whatever that is) spicy beef soup with vermicelli is great. The vermicelli noodles are a little thicker, which I enjoy. I'm looking forward to my next visit and ordering the duck soup, with a whole leg in it.

I've also had the bun (noodle salad) a few times. Nothing spectacular, but definitely solid.

Prices, as affordable as any other vietnamese place I've been to, which means cheap. I can't even finish the soup. I wish I could order a half one, because I feel bad wasting that wonderful broth.

Oh, and another thing, it's very clean and somewhat trendy in decor. Last time I was there, I sat at a table with a direct view into the kitchen. It all looked quite clean and comforting. If you have non-foodie friends that might be uncomfortable with some of the dingier places, then Peach Garden is a great option.

  1. grandgourmand Sep 2, 2008 05:25 PM

    thought for food (good name by the way), I'm not sure. I'd say more than 50% chance you can get a rice or noodle dish with only veg or tofu. I haven't looked. But stay away from pho because all the broth is animal-based stock, or however you describe that. If you're looking for better odds, there's a new veggie place on broadview just north of gerrard. Sorry if that's not much help.

    sinfulia, yes, there's free parking. thing is, there's only a limited amount of spots. otherwise, you can park on a side street nearby, I imagine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: grandgourmand
      thought_for_food Sep 2, 2008 07:26 PM

      Thanks, Grandgourmand. I'll drop by and see what's on offer.

    2. s
      Sinfulia Sep 2, 2008 02:31 PM

      Is there free parking at this strip mall?

      1. thought_for_food Sep 2, 2008 02:28 PM

        Do you know if they have anything vegetarian (without meat or fish, but eggs are ok), Grandgourmand?

        1. h
          homebaker Sep 2, 2008 01:29 PM

          Hey grandgourmand,

          Thanks for the recommendation. Like red_dragon, if we're in the neighbourhood it's always nice to have somebody's word-of-mouth in the back of our minds.

          By the way, I feel the same way about the amount of broth, as I usually order an extra large for the noodles!

          1. foodyDudey Sep 2, 2008 12:58 PM

            I haven't been there in 2 years, as it was terrible the one time we went there. How is the service? Here is the old thread on this place: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/332850

            1 Reply
            1. re: foodyDudey
              grandgourmand Sep 2, 2008 01:26 PM

              Someone on the old thread had some nice stuff to say about the broth, which I mentioned in my OP. And I also noticed someone suggest the food was not great, but listed what he/she ordered and it was thai food. Well I don't expect a vietnamese place to serve great thai food.
              About the service, it ain't the best, but I've never had to wait long for my food or encountered any rudeness. Mostly just tough communication because of the language barrier.

              I noticed in your old post you talked about Hanoi 3 Seasons. that's one of my favourites, for sure. But for pho, it's peach garden for me.

            2. m
              Mintycake Sep 2, 2008 11:31 AM

              How are the rice dishes there (are there any?) My husband doesn't eat pho or bun so if we go Vietnamese we always have to find him a rice dish.
              Me, I love pho, this is in my 'hood, and I look forward to trying. Thanks for your review!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Mintycake
                grandgourmand Sep 2, 2008 11:41 AM

                I haven't tried the rice dishes. But they have them. There are also two menus. One for vietnamese, the other for chinese and thai. I believe you can get anything that would be bun, in a rice version (shredded pork, chicken, shrimp on sugar can, etc.) If not, I perused the chinese/thai menu and there were some interesting rice dishes. But I always resist ordering from the non-core stuff, especially if it's from different countries of origing.

                At the end of the day I think you'll be happy with your pho, and if your husband doesn't like the rice dish, you're out $5-$6. If you go, let me know how it goes. I'm curious to hear what others think.

              2. BokChoi Sep 2, 2008 09:08 AM

                Good to know. How do you find the MSG level? Just wondering if its on par with everywhere else or more/less.Thanks.

                2 Replies
                1. re: BokChoi
                  grandgourmand Sep 2, 2008 09:40 AM

                  I really don't know how to tell the MSG level. It has good flavour, with a decent level of saltiness. Other than that, I can't answer that question.

                  1. re: grandgourmand
                    BokChoi Sep 2, 2008 12:45 PM

                    Thanks for the response and the review. Seems like the saltiness level is in check, so that's good. Thanks

                2. v
                  vacuum Sep 2, 2008 08:42 AM

                  Nice... how does this compare to Mi Mi's down the street? Other than the decor differences

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: vacuum
                    grandgourmand Sep 2, 2008 09:37 AM

                    Haven't been to Mi Mi's, so can't say. Peach Garden is my usual spot, and if I'm going upmarket a bit, Hanoi 3 Seasons. I like the broth better at Peach Garden.
                    For comparison purposes, I know it's better than Xe Lua, although that's not saying too much.

                  2. red dragon Sep 2, 2008 08:32 AM

                    Thanks for the great recommendation and review. It's not in my area, but I'm always willing to travel for good eats. Great to know the place is clean, which is very important to me - our go to place for pho has gone a bit downhill. Last time we were there, the servers were literally using fly swatters in front of us!!!

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