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Star King Viet Thai Cuisine - Major Pho Disappointment!

Charles Yu Jun 15, 2010 05:33 PM

Decide to grab something fast and good before the NBA Finals. Heard Star King at Warden & Steeles.being mentioned on this board a number of times so decide to give it a try. This restaurant occupies the huge cavernous space of the previous Boston Pizza. I swear I can still smell tomato, cheese and burnt pizza crusts!

My son had the 'beef satay and rice noodles' whilst I settled for a bowl of 'pho with rare beef and brisket'. My son had no complaint about his noodle. Afterall, spicy broth is spicy broth. Not much variation there. However, my pho was a major disappointment! The broth was so bland that it is the first time eating pho that I actually have to ask for SALT!! Also, the broth was totally void of any star anise flavour or aroma - a major flavoring ingredient in 'authentic' Vietnamese pho! After the great pho I had at Pho Da Bao last week. This was a major let down.. Guess I'll drive an extra 20 minutes to Finch west, next time I have a craving for Pho.

I'll be surprise if this place is still in business same time next year?!!.

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  1. w
    warlock RE: Charles Yu Jun 17, 2010 04:00 PM

    Just a small correction.....It is in the place of the previous Kelsey's......The Boston pizza is still there.....you should have gone to Pho Viet which is on the same plaza jut besides Ajisen Ramen......they do a better Pho....

    1 Reply
    1. re: warlock
      Charles Yu RE: warlock Jun 17, 2010 07:23 PM

      Yup! Pho Viet is better!
      However, from now on, just to be on the safe side, I think I'll just head out to the Finch west area for the 'real' thing! At least they all speak Vietnamese and NOT Cantonese there! Ha!!

    2. t
      teaforpsychos RE: Charles Yu Jun 17, 2010 08:01 PM

      Oh god, that place was terrible. I didn't think it was even on the board. I went there months ago with my parents because I was craving curry and they didn't want to go far. We all had different curries that night, and not one came out hot. Everything was tepid at best. The bread was decent, but you can't really go wrong with store bought bread that's just been toasted. The portions were so tiny we walked over to the T&T next door to pick up food. If I recall correctly, it was recently opened at that point and nearly empty as well.

      For Pho I usually go to the one at Bamburgh despite the fact the seating arrangement is crap there.

      5 Replies
      1. re: teaforpsychos
        T Long RE: teaforpsychos Jun 17, 2010 08:52 PM

        I live in this neighborhood and considering food and comfort level, I rank their beef noodle vietnamese style soup in this order :
        1. Star King
        2. Pho 88 (Bamburgh)
        3. Pho Viet.
        I don't have a Vietnamese background, so I can't comment on authenticity, but I know what I like.
        Clearly others disagree...so a case of I like, you hate (& I don't care). I guess I could have posted in that other thread, but its getting too long!

        1. re: T Long
          a
          ace123 RE: T Long Jul 25, 2010 06:11 AM

          Interesting! The order for my preference for pho in that Warden/Steeles area:
          1. Pho Viet
          2. Pho 88
          3.Star King.
          Actually, I don't think I want to go to the latter 2 at all.

          1. re: ace123
            T Long RE: ace123 Jul 25, 2010 07:50 AM

            I guess this means that we won't be bumping into each other going for pho in this area! Unlike you though, I don't have major issues foodwise with the latter two on my list. I don't go to Pho88 much because its just too darn busy and crowded and I have to pass by Pho Viet every time I walk to Star King, but so far have not been tempted enough to retry. It will be interesting to read your future posts to see if our differences continue to manifest. Cheers.

            1. re: T Long
              a
              ace123 RE: T Long Jul 25, 2010 01:22 PM

              We might have at least 1 favorite in common. Starfish is my 'go to' place for oysters. The roasted halibit for 2 with celeriac mesh is out of this world. Too bad it's not always on the menu. Their main courses are more refined than Rodney's.

              1. re: ace123
                T Long RE: ace123 Jul 26, 2010 07:59 AM

                Looks like we agree on Yuzu also! Starfish is a great place. One of my dining companions used to live in PEI, and she thought the oysters were comparable in freshness to those she self-shucked after getting them from the dock in PEI...in other words - very fresh.

                -----
                Yuzu
                236 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5H1W7, CA

      2. c
        caitlink RE: Charles Yu Jun 18, 2010 05:58 PM

        Where is Pho Da Bao? Finch and which intersection? Thx.

        1. a
          ace123 RE: Charles Yu Jul 24, 2010 05:32 PM

          Hi Charles,
          I was thinking the same after I finished my lunch there last week.
          pho with rare beef and tendon - brooth was very weak, no aroma, just lukewarm.
          shrimp laksa - Chinese vermicelli (kong sai mai sin) was used. The brooth was so sweet, we thought we were having sweet soup. Shrimp was good size though.
          Green curry with chicken - chicken with no seasoning at all. Curry sauce with tast of sweet coconut. Again too sweet with no spice.
          Grill lemongrass pork chop with rice - edible.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ace123
            Charles Yu RE: ace123 Jul 24, 2010 07:21 PM

            Some one mentioned ' Pho Metro' at Lawrence and Warden even better than Pho Da Bao. May be we should have save our money and head down there instead?!

            1. re: Charles Yu
              a
              ace123 RE: Charles Yu Jul 25, 2010 01:29 PM

              Would like to try it soon.

            2. re: ace123
              chefhound RE: ace123 Jul 26, 2010 01:36 PM

              I have to add my voice in agreement with you and Charles. I went just to try it out and it was pretty bad. Obviously some Chinese people making a half-hearted attempt at an overly large variety of Asian things. It's just like the Chinese-owned "sushi" joints. Don't get me started on that. So mediocre.

              I also had the laksa and it was pretty weak. My sister-in-law had the green curry and didn't finish it. Can't even remember what my brother ordered. We already had a feeling when we walked in and since my sister-in-law is Vietnamese, we knew the pho would disappoint so we didn't even try it.

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