Green Tea

Posted on 2010-07-26 11:24

280 Elgin

This is an Asian place that includes pho on the menu, although they just call it “noodle soup”. Their other dishes are sushi, bubble tea and other drinks, and appetisers including spring rolls.

Pho comes in two sizes. Regular sizes range from $7.50 to $9.00, and large sizes cost $1 more. Spring rolls are either $3 or $4 for two rolls. Bubble tea and other drinks range from $3.50 to $4.00.


A trendy place

Disclaimer: I am acquainted with two of the staff at this restaurant.

This place purports to be a "cool" hang-out, but my experience showed different. My group was the only one in the restaurant. This was on a Sunday from about 5:45PM to 6:30PM, so definitely in the range of supper time.

I counted 3 wait staff plus at least one from the kitchen so there was no shortage there, and service was fast and friendly.

Decor was plain, mostly white and light green. It seemed clean to me despite some other comments that complained about that. There were 8 tables plus some seats along the window and counter.

My meal started with vegetarian spring rolls. They arrived fresh and still sizzling from the fryer so were nice and hot. They were ever-so-slightly overcooked which meant they were on the crunchy side. That was fine considering the wrapper was a little bit thick so needed the extra cooking.

Before I finished my spring rolls, my soup arrived. That timing could have been better.

In my regular-size seafood pho with beef broth, there were three shrimp, three pieces of imitation crab meat and several pieces of fish balls. The shrimp were fine, the crab meat was tender to the point of falling apart, and the fish balls were nice and rubbery. I always wonder about the wisdom of adding crab meat to soup as it's very difficult to get out in one piece.

A nice touch is that the pho dishes are available with your choice of beef broth (pho bo) or chicken broth (pho ga).

Trimmings on the side were ok. Sprouts were a little past their prime, basil which was fresh, and a wedge of lime. Also on the table were bottles of the usual sriracha hot sauce and hoisin sauce.

Despite having good seafood cooked nicely and good trimmings, I did not enjoy the soup as much as I should have, though. It was bland and relatively tasteless and needed a large dose of hot sauce. And the broth, in my opinion, matters most when eating pho. It it's not good, then the pho is not good.

My other issue is the price. The regular-sized seafood pho and the two veggie spring rolls cost just over $15, which included tax but not tip. I suppose that rent on Elgin forces the high prices.

Rating: 6. Spring rolls were good but the soup was bland. And expensive.