Monday, March 23, 2009

Tonkinoise soups in Montreal

Yesterday I enjoyed the Saint-Patrick's day parade with my 5 year old son. My husband and daughter were at home: one suffering from a cold and the other teething. My son and I parked ourselves beside a particularly happy bunch who would cheer enthusiastically for such underwhelming floats as Bath Fitters. I got into the spirit and clapped and dance pretty much the entire time. My own general cheeriness kept me warm and made my son happy.

Near the end of the parade and at my son's request, we quit the whole affair and went for a late lunch. We ducked into a Thai and Vietnamese place on Ste-Catherine street. My son had the chicken tonkinoise and I had the pad Thai. The pad Thai was not greasy or overly sauced, although not a shrimp could be found. It had generous quantities of egg and chicken. The tonkinoise soup was not memorable and the noodles were a little undercooked. The service was efficient but overall it was not a remarkable dining experience. I say this also because of the incredibly greasy imperial rolls and the shreds of iceberg? in my starter soup.

In the end our Saint-Patrick's day lunch was no match for Pho Bang New York in Chinatown. Your soup comes with lots of fresh basil and bean sprouts and the broth is the most flavorful I have tried. I would have headed over there except that my son was tired, cold and hungry.

Just to be fair the tonkinoise at:

Pho Lien
5703 Côte-des-Neiges; 735-6949
Dinner for two, not including tax or tip: $14-$24

is also stellar. I went there a lot because my obstetrician is located at the Jewish General Hospital right next door and while pregnant I particularly craved these soups. There is an entertaining review of Pho Lien at

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