Hot soup on a hot day? Why not.
I stopped into Pho Ngon for lunch after hearing that Grandmother is in the kitchen again and is making her epic Shanghai-style Hot & Sweet soup. It's not on the menu but if you ask for it, you'll get it. And you'll be incredibly happy you did ask.
It's a big bowl of black fungus, tofu, chilis and a rich dark broth that is simultaneously sweet and spicy. And good. Damn good. Next time I'm taking a picture of it. Maybe. If I can put down the bowl and chopsticks long enough.
The restaurant itself is obviously well cared for and taken care of. The menu has all the high points without being too long and ambitious, with the expected Pho and all the other goodies you'd want, and the service is personable, efficient and down to earth. The kitchen is bright and clean, and the bathrooms are spotless - the hallmarks of a place.
My dining companion has a shellfish allergy, so there was a good amount of consulting with our server and the kitchen, which made us feel quite comfortable and confident there'd be no problems, and of course, there weren't. Her stir-fried tofu with vegetable and vermicelli was cooked perfectly to her liking and was a very decent portion. Lashed with their chili sauce (Sriracha on each table too if you want it) it was eaten with much happiness.
They've got a great selection of imported Pacific Rim beer, from Tiger to Tsiangtao to Sapporo in bottles and a big carafe of fresh cold water at the table to take edge off the heat.
There's also some kind of food challenge, a card on the table offered us the chance to eat a bowl of what looks to be a volcanic soup (Habanero and Ghost chilis in it to name two) in 30 minutes without water. Winners get spring rolls for life, bragging rights and become resistant to all germs for at least 24 hours I'm sure. Maybe in the winter. January, minus 40 wind chill - then it'd seem like a good idea.
If you're in the mood for a bowl of goodness on a hot day, a cold day, a day off or at 3 in the morning on a Friday, this is the place to find it. It's a nice change from the plethora of Korean places along the Bloor strip.
643 Bloor West just west of Euclid.