We went to Mimi's at 7:30 on a Friday pretty much knowing that it would be pointless and sure enough there was already a lineup.
So we parked a little closer to Broadview wandered around and ended up at Hanoi 3 Seasons. Though it was a random choice I was pretty excited as I'd heard good things. We are regulars at mimi's, I love pho (even the kind with the chewy bits), and have also frequented Pho 88, Little Saigon (I think that's the name, near Spadina and college) and Pho Hung. So we know whatever passes for Southern Vietnamese food in TO, and I have been very interested in what I've heard is the only Northern Vietnamese place around.
It's a very different room for a Vietnamese place, with almost a small bistro feel. Our server was friendly but a bit off putting when he asked if this was our first time and then waxed (what he thought was) poetically about how different northern vietnamese cooking was.
Anyhow, cut to the chow....
Have to say I was disappointed. The #10 special was highly recommended ("someone HAS to have it"), and what was billed as grilled fish turned out to be very lightly dusted pan fried white fish, scented with dill and garlic, on vermicelli with the standard vitenamese offerings of basil, lettuce and peanuts. It was really bland considering the build up. Furthermore, though having it in soup was an option, it was recommended that I NOT do this. But disappointed I ordered broth on the side, and once I tasted it just dumped it over the fish.
It was, perhaps, a light chicken broth with tomatoes, dill roasted garlic, I think tamarind and various herbs. Very intense flavour. I'd drink this stuff in shots if I had a chance! Indeed it turned out to be the best thing we had. So if you go and order the number 10, ignore their advice and have it with the soup.
The rest of the family all ordered the ginger chicken with springrolls. The chicken was OK, nothing special and the springrolls were kind of undercooked and a little gloppy.
The kids had mango and strawberry milkshakes which were also nothing speical.
So overall I am little mystified at the press this place has received. Perhaps we were there on a bad night but I wouldn't go back. Next time we'll just leave a little earlier and go to Mimi's.