Vietnamese Restaurant Wars in the Bronx: Aftermath?
- Jim Leff Oct 9, 2010 11:42 AM
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
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).
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.