In the mood to celebrate? Check out Bò 7 món, a Vietnamese party dish made up of seven courses of beef. Bò 7 món is a meat fest served at Vietnamese events. It denotes wealth, as beef can be pricy in Vietnam. Don't bother inviting your vegetarian friends out for this one.
Kimbo, a Vietnamese restaurant across from Toronto Western Hospital at 358 Bathurst at Dundas, looks like a dodgy stripclub that hasn't been redecorated since the 1960s. Their bò 7 món costs $25 for two people, and adding a portion for a third person brings the bill to $35.
Course #1 is the beef fondue (below). The staff bring out a boiling vinegar hot pot to the table on a grill that has been reconstructed with an old coat hanger. "Is this your first time?" the waiter innocently asks, before graciously showing us how to cook the meat and soak the rice paper. The result is a fresh tasting wrap stuffed with mint leaves, basil, vermicelli, daikon and carrot.
I feel a bit cheated when the waitress brings a small tray of rolls out and explained that is dish #2, #3 and #4. The tropical leaf roll is wrapped tight with a leaf like a cigar and covered in crushed peanuts. It tastes like a Middle Eastern kebab. The barbecue beef rolls, made of chopped up fat, beef and vermicelli, were on the sweet side. The grilled satay beef roll is a slice of meat tying together many slices of potent onion.
Next up was dish #5, the steamed meat jumbo beef ball. This had a rather strange texture because of the tough noodles inside of it. It was followed by #6, a plate of sauteed cube beef. This was a simple but tasty dish of chewy beef pieces with carrot, onion and celery.
And finally, we got the 7th dish, beef congee. This salty porridge was a bit better than average, with a salty kick and generous about of ground beef. I topped off the meal with a silky avocado milkshake.
Bò 7 món is a fun way to sample a wide range of Vietnamese cuisine in one setting. While not every dish succeeds, you will have a newfound appreciation for the elastic properties of beef. It's a reasonable but not overwhelming portion of food for a decent price.
Kimbo Restaurant is located at 358 Bathurst Street at Dundas. Tel: 416 603 7817. It's open seven days a week, 11am to 10pm.
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