I decided to head to Pho 66 because it is one of the main spots along a strip of St. Clair West (between Old Weston and Silverthorn Ave) that has, over the past few years, become Pho central. At a glance I spotted at least 3 or 4 other smaller Vietnamese eateries across the street, including Golden Turtle, which also has a location in Parkdale .
Despite less than scenic surroundings at this busy intersection, Pho 66 was a pleasant experience... and once you're inside, the plants and decor in the window block out the cars outside anyhow.
The staff here is friendly and seemingly family... it's the kind of place with parents in the kitchen and daughter out waiting tables. Of course, that's a guess (I didn't check ID) but the feeling is all the same.
The menu is a few pages long, as usual at Pho places, so my girlfriend and I took our time, looking over all the varied options (which come in different sizes as well). In the meanwhile, a fresh pot of tea arrives.
Finally we go for Veggie & Tofu Rice Noodle broth ($5.00) and Satay Beef with Vermicelli (6.50).
The veggie soup is aromatic and tasty. The fried tofu is a little too spongey/hollow for my liking, but something about the broth made it worthwhile. There was a sweetness to it, which I could only peg as cinnamon though I knew that couldn't be it. Mysterious, but really nice.
The Satay beef was better though.
Now, my one beef (no pun intended) about most meaty orders around town is that all kinds of cartilage and crap is left in the dish. You're then left to discover it and fish it discreetly out of your mouth and into a napkin or onto the side of your plate in all its grossness... which really ruins the moment.
None of that to be had a Pho 66. Evey piece of beef was tender, wildly marinated in spices and, well, hard-thing free. They put in that little extra effort to make the dish enjoyable and really makes a difference.
(insert applause here)
One downside here is that there isn't much in the way of dessert. Which, while disappointing, ended up being just fine by us as we hadn't any more 'room' after all those noodles anyhow.