Phodown 4: Pho Linh

Pho Linh
Address: 1156 College Street, Toronto (map)
Date & time of visit: November 15, 2012 + 8:00PM
Price (based on deluxe pho): Small – $7.00; Large – $7.50; XL – $8.00

Pho Linh Exterior


Broth: 6.5 | Beef: 7 | Noodle: 7.5 | Condiment: 8 | Service/atmosphere: 8 | Overall: 7.4

Broth: 6 | Beef: 6.5 | Noodle: 8.5 | Condiment: 9 | Service/atmosphere: 7.5 | Overall: 7.5

Broth: 6.5 | Beef: 7 | Noodle: 7 | Condiment: 9| Service/atmosphere: 9 | Overall: 7.7

Sean (not factored into overall score)
Broth: ? | Beef: ? | Noodle: 7.5 | Condiment: 8 | Service/atmosphere: 8 | Overall: 7.833

Overall Rating: 7.533

Quality per dollar (based on large pho): 1.00

Write-up from Jason:

A couple of weeks ago I watched my hometown Washington Wizards, the lowly bottom feeder of the Eastern Conference, pick apart LeBron James and the Miami Heat, slapping them with one of their few losses of the season and sending them into a tailspin. The upshot is that when you’re facing an inferior opponent, it’s hard to raise your game. That’s the obstacle the Phodown gang faced a month ago when we tackled Pho Linh, where we ran into a harsh reality: It’s hard to raise your game for a pho that isn’t very good.

That’s not to say that Pho Linh didn’t come highly recommended, or that the interior and staff weren’t delightful. We all enjoyed the quick service, hushed atmosphere, and the two level design. But that’s the problem with Pho Linh – it’s all smoke and mirrors (down to the signage: despite the LLBO claim, there was no alcohol to be had on the premises).

The primary problem was the broth. Salty, greasy and astringent, there was no trace of care to be found. The beef, which was chewy and beyond its prime, followed suit.

We all did agree that the noodles were fine. Although a bit clumpy, they came out with the right degree of tooth. And although I thought the condiments were above average, a bushel of fresh basil belied the waterlogged bean sprouts beneath. Pho Linh also fell prey to the disturbing trend of runny hoisin and siracha that is going pandemic in the GTA.

Condiments @ Pho Linh Toronto

At the end of the day, this was just a disappointing showing for a pho that came highly recommended. It took me nearly a month to write this thing up, Sean recused himself from the proceedings altogether, and Sierra refuses to admit that it ever happened. The phodown has reached its theoretical nadir. Will we rebound?

Stay tuned.

Basil at Pho Linh + wattery bean sprouts


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