Saturday, March 19, 2011

Is it "Pho Xe Lua" or "Xe Lua? WHO CARES!

Xe Lua Vietnamese Cuisine on UrbanspoonLast night my wife and I headed down to what we call "Pho Xe Lua" (180 Steeles Avenue West, Vaughan) for some good old fashioned Pho (Vietnamese beef noodle soup). 

A couple of years ago my wife showed me this place she had been for lunch a few times with her work colleagues. I wasn't really happy with it overall at the time.  The food was good but the optics of the place seemed a little questionable for a suburban restaurant.  It used to be you walked in the front door to be greated by a server who asked how many in your party.  The server asked this question while, in the background, the area where they collect the dirty dishes was completly visible. 

A month later after the first trip we returned to try the place again to see if it truly was this bad or if the optics were just bad that day.  To our chagrin the place was closed for renovations.  We let another month go by before venturing back.  We were quite impressed with the new wood finishes on the booths and tables as well as the new modern atmosphere. Since the renovations Pho Xe Lua has become a regular place on our visit list.

But try to find this place under "Pho Xe Lua" and you're stuck.  Urbanspoon.com, where I cross post my reviews from this blog, didn't  have a listing under "Pho Xe Lua".  I merely thought this place hadn't been found yet.  That was until my wife and I had a double date with my brother and his wife who said there was another location downton.  So later I looked up "Pho Xe Lua" and came up with a review on Blogto.com that called it "Xe Lua" without the word "Pho" in it.  Blogto reviewed a downtown location and not the Vaughan location on Steeles Avenue that I normally go to.   Thus, I tried "Xe Lua" in Urbanspoon.com and came up with at least four locations spread out across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).   I still call the place "Pho Xe Lua" as that is what is on the door in their logo.  But you know, "tomato, tomato, let's call the whole thing off".  That is because they serve great food, so who really cares what the place is called?

So on this yesterday my wife and I entered and were seated immediately in a booth which is usually one  of the more popular places to be seated. We were handed a menu, a checklist and golf pencil to order.  This ordering method I've found is quite common at Asian restaurants (it was used as the ordering method when I recently had dumplings with my brother, his wife,my wife and myself).  We flagged down a passing waiter, (again something different in Asian restaurants every server that walks by is your wait person) and handed it to him.

The Order: #108 - Pho with rare beef noodles and meatballs, #102 Pho with rare beef and tripe and gobs of tea to wash it all down. 

Within ten minutes the Pho dishes arrived along with the traditional bean sprouts.  The pho was excellent.  The rare beef was of good quality and easy to pick up with my intermediate "chopstickery".  I enjoyed the noodles and the beef meatballs (also using my "chopstickery"). 

Aside:  This is the place where I learned to use chopsticks.  Ever tried to pick up a round meatball with chopsticks?  It isn't as easy as one would think, especially over a bowl of Pho with beef broth that can splash. 

The tea was of good quality and not the watered down tea you get sometimes from some Asian restaurants trying to skimp. 

The price was also pretty good with the entire meal costing about eighteen dollars including taxes.

Overall Pho Xe Lua is an excellent place for Pho and other Vietnamese food.  I thoroughly enjoy it everytime we go.

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