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Pho Hung, a disappointment

g
gomexico Jun 1, 2010 11:49 AM

I made my first visit to Pho Hung on Spadina last Sunday and was disappointed, having first read some glowing reviews of the place. Popular the place is, but I left with the question, "Who changed the definition of "good." Actually, I think I've read reports that the restaurant serves what's considered the best Pho in Toronto. If so, maybe fans of Pho will want to move to Chicago where I think you may find better. Then again, maybe I misread the reviews. ;-)

For starters, the broth was a cloudy, muddy color ... a turn-off for me. I don't think I've eaten pho with such dark and cloudy broth before. My order was for the rare beef and the bowl arrived with a fist-sized clump of beef that appeared to have been taken from the freezer and plopped in the middle of the bowl. It took some doing to untangle the ball of beef. The meat was okay, though - a bit bland to the palate. The broth, too, was just "okay," without much flavor to it.. The sprouts looked and felt as if they'd been sitting out on a plate somewhere, for a long time (lifeless).

The restaurant was packed and customers were served quickly and pleasantly.

Sorry to say, I wouldn't recommend the place to friends. :-(

Pho Hung
350 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, ON M5T 2G4

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Pho Hung
350 Spadina, Toronto, ON M5T2G4, CA

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  1. pinstripeprincess Jun 1, 2010 12:04 PM

    i haven't heard of this place being recommended since they enclosed the side patio. i have heard of the qualities of other places more hotly contested recently, most frequently places on ossington.

    overall i've found broth to be getting significantly weaker.

    1. Splendid Wine Snob Jun 1, 2010 12:08 PM

      Not sure about the glowing reviews of this place but there are great places in North York. Here's a relatively recent thread:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7032...

      SWS

      1. w
        Whats_For_Dinner Jun 1, 2010 03:49 PM

        Never eaten at the Spadina location but I've had good meals at the Bloor one. As for pho, I think there are several better places to get it in Toronto, but I've been impressed with a lot of Pho Hung's vermicelli dishes in the past. Their chao tom is great, or was the last few times I had it, admittedly awhile ago.

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        Pho Hung
        350 Spadina, Toronto, ON M5T2G4, CA

        5 Replies
        1. re: Whats_For_Dinner
          Splendid Wine Snob Jun 1, 2010 07:06 PM

          Actually that's usually what I order at Pho Hung as well! I've only ever enjoyed their vermicelli dishes, never the Pho. This really reminds me of the importance behind ordering the right menu items in highlighting the strengths of any kitchen.

          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
            g
            gomexico Jun 1, 2010 08:21 PM

            If pho isn't the highlight of the kitchen of "Pho Hung" ... then the name of the restaurant should probably be changed. I don't know if the day I visited was typical - but during the hour I sat there I saw only a few things other than pho served to what looked to be more than 100 people seated at tables. The strength of the business at the time I visited is a testament to local residents who enjoy the place. I'm not Vietnamese ... and maybe I've missed something about the pho there. I know what I like though ... and I didn't like it very much. If you get to Chicago look-up Ben Tre Cafe, a place I think serves great pho. Thanks.

            1. re: gomexico
              Splendid Wine Snob Jun 1, 2010 10:13 PM

              Will do..thanks for the tip!

              1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                Jamie Eats Burgers Jun 3, 2010 06:40 AM

                The pho there is terrible, but the place is always packed, and thus it will continue to be packed because of the influence of packed restaurant has on people.

                Its great to with a group of people there because the atmosphere it presents to them.

                otherwise, if its just me, I'll go to pho pasteur at 3 am and stare at the weirdos (or perhaps I am the weirdo in that scenario)

                1. re: Jamie Eats Burgers
                  1sweetpea Jun 3, 2010 07:05 AM

                  I have no fewer than a dozen other pho places in the GTA on my "go-to" list. Pho Hung is absolutely not on that list. Admittedly, there are a number of lengthy threads on Chowhound that hotly debate where to find great pho in Toronto, and Pho Hung does get mentioned here and there, but it's usually shot down by passionate pho-hounds who fully explain why one place or another is superior, in their opinions.

                  Pho Hung was my introduction to pho about a dozen years ago. The food was serviceable and the service was gruff. I returned one time with my SO and we agreed that those two qualities seemed to be the norm. We promptly moved on and found friendlier mom and pop-type establishments that take much more pride in their pho and other dishes.

                  I think Pho Hung is packed because of location, size and the kitchen's efficiency with getting food out fast. The staff doesn't want anyone lingering and their approach is one of "move, move, move" which appeals to diners in a hurry. Many Vietnamese people eat pho as a snack throughout the day and choose other dishes for main meals. If they can pop out to Pho Hung on a coffee break and slurp a small bowl of pho and a coffee in less than 15 minutes, it's a winner in their eyes.

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                  Pho Hung
                  350 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON , CA

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