Sherman's Food Adventures: Pho Don

Pho Don

Generally, when it's late (like past 1:00am), there are only a few places that are open outside of Downtown except Denny's and Knight & Day). However, near the corner of Hastings and Renfrew, there has always been an option for early morning eats.  Through its many iterations, we've seem to use it as a last resort.  Gone is Gourmet Castle and enter another Vietnamese joint called Pho Don.  This was our eating destination after Friday hockey.

As usual, I ended up sharing some items with various people at the table (which is a great strategy to sample more food!).  I tried the Salad Roll first and it was well- constructed being tightly wrapped but not overly so.  The shrimp had a nice meatiness while the vermicelli still had a chew.  I liked the dipping sauce as it was a good balance between peanut and hoisin.  As much as the Spring Roll was made with a wheat wrapper instead of rice, it was good though. It was hot, crunchy and not too greasy.  The filling was a little loose, but was nicely seasoned.  I also shared the Chicken Banh Mi and that was a bad decision.  The bread itself was okay being crunchy and only slightly dense, but the chicken was very strange.  It was sliced up, and wok-tossed with onions and a goopy sweet sauce that made the whole sandwich wet.  Furthermore, the carrots and daikon were not pickled enough (or not at all), hence, there was no acidity.

Doing my best impression of a pinch eater, I shared some of the BBQ Chicken Wings with Gordo because Emilicious couldn't eat anymore. These saucy wings were mostly moist and meaty.  The sauce itself was rather sweet with not much impact.  The chicken skin was decently rendered from the deep fry. For my main, I had the Bun Bo Hue that included 2 pieces of pig's feet (too bad there was no pork blood though).  I found the soup base to be mildly spicy with a nice aromatics, in particularly dried shrimp.  There was plenty of ingredients including tender brisket and flank.  This was a decent version in my opinion.  Emilicious ended up with the Pho and the broth was on the lighter side.  It was far from salty where it exhibited a mild sweetness from the daikon.  Meats were similar to my bowl of noodles where they were tender.

Gadget Girl and Polka King (gasp, he exists!) both had the Lemongrass Chicken with rice and spring roll.  The skinless piece of chicken was sufficiently tender with a modest amount of seasoning.  Gadget Girl was a bit indifferent with it, but in the end she thought it was decent.  And really, most of the stuff was alright, especially considering it was late night.  Staff were friendly too which is a definite plus.

The Good:
- Open late
- Nice staff
- Clean and renovated

The Bad:
- Decent, but nothing to set it apart
- Parking lot has the narrowest spots ever

Pho Don on Urbanspoon


Steve said...

I tried their grilled pork (or was it their beef?) banh mi shortly after they opened. It did not even remotely taste like any other banh mi that I've ever had. It was more like some kind of sub standard sloppy joe one might find in an all night convenience store. Ended up throwing most of it out, it was that bad!
You can get a better banh mi about 3 blocks west of there, at Le Pho.

WC said...

I'll be shocked of this restaurant will still be in business in 3 years. There are just too many heavyweights in the area.

Sherman Chan said...

@Steve & @WC Totally agree, the food is too ordinary and the Banh Mi just sucks.