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Oct 9, 2010 11:42 AM

Vietnamese Restaurant Wars in the Bronx: Aftermath?

I just spent thirty minutes catching up on the history of Vietnamese in Bedford Park: the dynasties, the heartbreaking closures, the treacheries.

What I can't figure out is what's left at this point. Is Com Tam Ninh Kieu the only place? I've seen negatives here (but praise for the pho), and there's a screaming rave (not shilly sounding) for the duck leg soup with yellow noodles and duck congee on Yelp. I'd assume that, from the name, com tam is the thing to get.

Any new reports? Is this really the sole surviving venue?

Com Tam Ninh Kieu
2641 Jerome Ave, Bronx, NY 10468

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  1. It was the only one we saw when we stopped by craving pho last Saturday night.

    The pho at Com Tam Ninh Kieu is pretty good - not really destination quality, but if you're in the area, why not? The broth is salty but decent. Look for an umami bomb roasted chili/shallot/ground shrimp relish on the table (in the round clear plastic condiment dispensers next to the roast chili oil and the chili-garlic relish) - almost like an extremely mellow nam prik pao. This relish went agreeably with the meats in the pho, which otherwise had a sort of washed out quietly beefy flavour.

    Unfortunately, this place is just not the same destination World of Taste Seafood used to be for bun bo hue or bun rieu. They offer bun bo hue on weekends; I tried it months ago and didn't think much of it (like oiler pho with the addition of chunks of pork blood, not particularly spicy or lemongrass-y).

    5 Replies
    1. re: plum

      Thanks. Hmm. Sounds kind of dismal. One conjures up the image of early thriving civilizations buried under sands, with nothing but a grimy dollar store at the location. Maybe that's overly dramatic.

      I wonder if some of the cooks have scattered elsewhere. Might be worth sussing out.

      1. re: Jim Leff

        I believe that I read, on these boards, that the chef of World of Taste passed away. Can anyone verify this?

        If you're in the area, the Vietnamese super market right next door is cheap and and has some nice products that are harder to find in the Bronx.

        1. re: NewYorkNewHaven

          It was reported here that the owner of Pho Saigon, which briefly succeeded World of Taste, died in April.

          The owner of World of Taste is apparently still in business across the street at Com Tam Ninh Kieu.

      2. re: plum

        I agree that the pho there is only pretty good. I personally usually find the noodles overcooked. I love their cracked rice plates though, especially with grilled pork and and fried egg. It's just one of those dishes where everything pulls together perfectly. I was pretty underwhelmed by the duck leg soup. The mushrooms in it were delicious but the broth was extremely bland. It reminded me more of a Chinese noodle soup except that the duck wasn't as well cooked. My favorite thing about this place might just be the giant stuffed buns they sell at the counter for 1.50 you get a piece of steamed bread the size of a large grapefruit, crammed with pork, mushrooms, chunks of hardboiled egg, and who knows what else.

        Unfortunately it is true that the atmosphere is essentially non-existent. The room is drab and the service pretty indifferent. Nonetheless it adds tremendously to the variety of food available in that part of the Bronx.

        1. re: bworm42

          did you get a ginger "slurry" to dump into the duck noodle soup? It added something to it.

          I like that big bun too, yup. there's a lot of those to be found in chinatown too.

        1. re: MartyL

          Thanks for remembering to post back to this thread, Marty! Beautifully written article, too...

          1. re: Jim Leff

            anyone tried their com tam? one of my fav viet dishes

            is it destination quality?

            1. re: Lau

              Am I mistaken but didn't Sweet & Tart used to serve various dishes (eg beef wih bitter melon) over broken rice, at least a Cantonese version of it?

              1. re: swannee

                no idea, but broken rice quality can vary heavily, so having a specialist is important

                if you want to see amazing broken rice, here's one of my favorite places to eat at home that has unbelievable com tam:

                1. re: Lau

                  Will definitely try when next in LA. What is broken rice called in Mandarine/Cantonese? Anyone?

          2. re: MartyL

            Thank you for sharing! Went here recently and it was very good