Last night before going to see Avenue Q (so so good, more on that later), we went to Linda restaurant, Salad King's upscale counterpart. I haven't been to Linda or Salad King in ages and they really are the best places to go for dinner in that neighbourhood. We would have done Salad King, but it's impossible to talk in there, so we decided to go for the slightly quieter Linda.
If you do go to Linda, make a reservation even if you're going early. It's a tiny room and it fills up quickly. When you call, make sure you're somewhere where you can yell into the phone because it's always chaos on their end. They will call you back on the day of to confirm you still want the reservation.
The menu is quite different from what I remember. The majority of the dishes are not on the Salad King menu, whereas before I think there was a lot of overlap. They do have the same spicing scale as Salad King, which starts with Mild, then Medium, then 1-20 Chillis. I've only ever had 3 Chillis (aka Thai Medium) and it's plenty spicy for me, but Marcelo tells me that he gets 10 Chillis usually. Hardcore.
I'm so glad we ordered this. I've never had it before and I loved it. They give you six little bowls filled with diced limes, crushed peanuts, chopped green chiles, red onion, tiny dried shrimp, and shredded coconut along with some 'aromatic leaves', which I think are betel leaves (the same ones used in paan), and some sweet chile sauce. You pile everything on top of the leaf, wrap it up, and eat it in one bite. It's so delicious and light.
Fish Curry Hotpot
I did my research beforehand and was curious to see the 'paper cone' that everyone says this dish is served in. They wheel out a cart that has what looks like a large aromatherapy stand with a coffee filter in it. They spoon the curry into the paper cone and then light a candle underneath it. I suppose the paper doesn't catch fire because the curry is so dense and liquidy. The curry was great. Smooth and coconutty with pieces of deep-fried whitefish, okra, and fresh grape tomatoes.
Avenue Q was incredible. It's definitely far and away the best musical I've seen in Toronto. It's clever, funny, and we did laugh out loud. It closes on Friday, so definitely go if you can get a ticket. You won't be disappointed.
335 Yonge Street (entrance on Gould Street)
189 Yonge Street