Pho Ai My
Address: 221 Spadina, Toronto (map)
Date & time of visit: February 14, 2013 + 12:45pm
Price (based on deluxe pho): Small – $5.00; Medium – $6.00; Large – $8.00
Broth: 6 | Beef: 3.5 | Noodle: 7 | Condiment: 5 | Service/atmosphere: 6 | Overall: 5.5
Broth: 7 | Beef: 6 | Noodle: 7 | Condiment: 6.5 | Service/atmosphere: 7 | Overall: 6.7
Overall Rating: 6.1
Quality per dollar (based on medium pho): 1.07
Write-up from Jason:
There are times in life when you think you’ve seen the bottom – dark and tangible – but it wasn’t really the bottom. It was a dream of the middle. That’s how this endeavor is starting to feel.
It started with such lofty aspirations: a sense of exploration, a world of pho to discover. A world of pho to subject to the scrutiny of empirical observation. And in exploring a deep, rich bowl of pho, maybe we would learn something about ourselves. But this phodown just seems to go deeper and deeper without finding any meaning. No epistemic truths, just a solitary, empty bowl filled with ghosts of better times.
Such is the case with Pho Ai My, a worn out little restaurant with all the trappings of something more. The door runs on a censor, like a grocery store door, but it only opens halfway. The staff gets the job done, artfully doing so without any passion. The pho is dirt cheap, a small victory.
I checked out Pho Ai My with my friend and moot-partner Jan, who graciously picked up the check. Although Jan is a relative pho novice, we generally agreed on most of our ratings. There was really nothing special about the broth or noodles. The condiments were also pretty standard, lacking hot peppers and sawtooth herb.
My main complaint is with the beef, which was really of some of the worst quality I’ve experienced at a pho restaurant. The rare beef, in particular, was woeful. Instead of being sliced, it was a series of odd-shaped scraps of some low-quality of beef. It was very off-putting.
In conclusion, there are loads of better pho options in Chinatown – pay a couple of extra dollars and go there.