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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

[Toronto] Salad King

Location Review:
340 Yonge Street, 2nd floor
Toronto, Ontario
(Major Intersection: Yonge St and Dundas Ave)

During one of them random weekdays, my co-workers and I went out for lunch. Usually we go to places around our office in Yorkville, but to satisfy the cravings of my cubicle neighbour Fatima, we subwayed a bit down to have Thai food. Despite being a bit of a trek, I didn't mind it because I hadn't been to the new location since it opened in February.

If you were just walking down the street, you might miss the restaurant. The doorway to the restaurant is no bigger than a narrow alleyway, and it opens to several flights of stairs to the second floor. It's only when you get to the second level that you realize how big and open the restaurant is. The decor is very edgy, and visually stimulating. They use bright colours and almost has an Andy Warhol feel to it. Seating-wise, there are two sections. One section, you have your traditional spaced out tables, with a predetermined number of seats and table settings. On the other side of the restaurant closer to the kitchen, there are rows upon rows of tables, similar to a cafeteria. Under this arrangement, the hostess can place any combination of people from different parties. The downside is that you might be sitting next to someone from another group. It also gets to be very busy and loud.

Despite the lunch rush, we managed to get our own table. Small, but feasible. The menu is actually found right on the place mat, so ordering was pretty easy. The food was also very quick to arrive.

"Crispy Spring Rolls" -Cabbage, bean sprouts, carrots, bean vermicelli, black fungus, bamboo shoot, rapped in spring roll shell (made from wheat), deep fried, served with sweet and sour sauce

Fatima ordered this as a starter, and so graciously offered one to me. The rolls were light and crispy, and was appetizing with the sauce. Not sure if the sweet and sour sauce is home made, but it just tastes like Vietnamese fish sauce to me.

"Phud Thai" - Rice noodles, carrots, peanuts, tofu, green onions, bean sprouts, coriander, egg, fish sauce and tamarind sauce. Choice of chicken, beef and shrimp.

"Green Curry" - Broccoli, snap peas, bell peppers, peas, sweet Asian basil in Thai green curry with 
coconut milk and Thai herbs, served with steam rice. Choice of chicken, beef and shrimp.

"Golden Curry" - Broccoli, onions, bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, bay leaf in Thai yellow curry 
with coconut milk, tamarind, palm sugar, Thai herbs, served with steam rice. Choice of chicken, beef and shrimp.

The curry here was very good. When you order, you have an option of how spicy you want it, using a scale (displayed on the place mat) of how many "chilis". In my opinion, the Green and Golden Curries were very similar. They were both very heavy in coconut flavorings. The green one varied slightly with more of a licorice undertone, while the golden one had more of a tomato undertone. The vegetables also differed a bit, with the green curry having greener vegetables (green peppers, snap peas), and the golden curry with more colourful ones (red peppers, carrots). I noticed midway eating this dish, that there were lots of these little pureed bits in it. These are most likely the spices and herbs, but it really gave the curry a bold flavouring. Definitely try one of these when you're here!

The Phud Thai on the other hand, I didnt' care much for. I didn't have any on this occasion that I went, but I've had it before and don't remember it being too special. The chicken, noodles, and everything tasted fine, but compared to the curry it was just lacking something to make it extrodinary. Perhaps I'm just not too big a fan of pad thai, because my co-worker Craig who ordered it, said it was pretty good.

One thing I want to add, is that this restaurant is very vegetarian and vegan-friendly. Not a big deal to most omnivores like myself, but I know it was much appreciated by Fatima who doesn't eat meat at restaurants. I guess it just makes it easier when there's the option! If you're looking for some quick mainstream Thai food, and don't mind the busy environment, then this is potentially your place.

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