Weekly Lunch Pick: the beef noodle special at Ossington’s Pho Tien Thanh

Weekly Lunch Pick: the beef noodle special at Ossington’s Pho Tien Thanh

(Image: Renée Suen) 

Known to many as the Vietnamese place on Ossington that’s not Golden Turtle, Pho Tien Thanh is not without its own fiercely loyal following. At midday, the long dusty-rose and powder-blue room is packed with hungry diners hunched over steaming bowls (it’s not uncommon for couples to find themselves sharing a table with strangers). Our medium-sized order of phố đặc biệt ($7.50) features tender braised brisket swimming among thick stacks of fat-rippled shaved beef and thin al dente vermicelli noodles. The clear, anise-kissed broth is full of little treasures: springy ribbons of tripe unfurled next to gelatinous knobs of tendon, still-crisp slivers of raw onion and scallions, to which we add a handful of raw bean sprouts, aromatic Thai basil and bitter thorny coriander. To complete the pho ritual: a splash of zingy and pungent meat dipping sauce made from bird’s-eye chili, some lime wedges and a little fish sauce. It’s probably wise to take a breath mint before heading back to the office.

The cost: $10 including tax, tip and complimentary tea.

The time: a speedy 25 minutes (although it takes another 12 to secure the bill).

Pho Tien Thanh, 57 Ossington Ave., 416-588-6997