My boyfriend, Juan, had visited Pho Toan Thang a couple of times in the last week or so, and has been telling me that it was better than our usual pho 'go-to', so I needed to see (or taste) for myself.
I was immediately impressed with the decor and service upon entering the restaurant. So many times in pho restaurants the service is terrible, the decor is mediocre and the looks make you question the cleanliness. This was not the case here, as the owners and colours were both warm and inviting.
I stuck with my usual - rare steak pho, a fried spring roll and a strawberry smoothie. Juan also had the steak pho, but opted for a Vietnamese coffee, his new favorite coffee beverage. However, I did read over the menu in its entirety. There were some impressive options including beef stews, egg noodle options, a large selection of 'grill' items (vermicelli and rice plates) and a great kids meal, that includes brisket and beef ball pho and juice for only $4.15.
Our food arrived very quickly, as it usually does with pho. My soup looked as steak pho usually does, however, it tasted much better than usual! The broth was to die for and the portion of steak was hearty (which was nice, because I had every intention of ordering the $2 extra meat, but forgot to tell my server). My only gripe is that there were an absolute ton of green onions and cilantro, I am a fan of both only in moderation. The other thing that I was impressed with was the nicely presented and vast selection of sauces. Sauces on the table are very standard in pho restaurants. Usually a bottle of sriracha, some hoisin sauce and another chili sauce. I was pleased that I didn't have to wipe the gunk off my hands after touching the sauce bottles! This soup was a great deal at only $6.00 for the small (which filled me up so much that I actually couldn't finish the whole thing!), or $7.00 for the large size.
My smoothie arrived right after my pho did, which was nice because that is not always the case. I really liked the flavour, the creaminess of the smoothie, and the fact that there were no lumps of ice left. The only thing that was missing from this was some tapioca 'pearls'! I would order this again, and was a great deal at only $3.50.
The other item that I ordered was a fried spring roll. Fry rolls are always served with Nước mắm or fish sauce, which has become a favorite 'dip' of mine. The fry roll that I was served was delicious - crispy, great flavour and perfect temperature. So often with spring rolls they have hints of an unpleasant pork taste, but this was not the case. And my favorite part, the fish sauce, was just the way that I like it - tangy and salty.
Juan let me try his Vietnamese coffee, which came in a very cool looking brewer. I was unfamiliar with Vietnamese coffee until recently and had not tried it until tonight. I was pleasantly surprised by it! It was sweet, bold and creamy. Just make sure that you mix the condensed milk, seen here at the bottom, very well or you might be in for a very sweet surprise near the end of the drink. This coffee drink was $3.50, which may seem like a lot, but I actually think that this holds up against a few Starbucks flavoured coffee drinks, which are of the same price, if not more. Plus, it gets served in this awesome brewer - can't beat that!
I look forward to making Pho Toan Thang my go-to pho hangout. Not only was the food excellent, but I appreciated the excellent service that we received. If you are looking for a reasonably priced, filling and delicious meal I would highly recommend visiting!