Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Co'm Vietnamese Grill - Atlanta

Hoping to expand my relatively meager experience with the Vietnamese offering of Buford Highway, I convinced Jennifer that we needed to try another pho place for lunch. Unfortunately, that didn’t go exactly as planned since we had eaten at Pho Dai Loi #2 just the day before. Regrouping, I scoured Urbanspoon and suggested we try the Buford Highway location for Co’m Vietnamese Grill.

Nestled in a strip mall amidst Lee’s Bakery and El Senor Taco, I was surprised to find a relatively upscale décor, at least in terms of your average pho joint. Another surprise was the size of Co’m’s dining room. With less than a dozen tables, it presents a rather cozy setting.

As is always the case, the meal started with appetizers.

The pork spring roll seemed like the natural choice.
Stuffed with lettuce, bean thread noodles, and a delicious grilled pork, I was quite happy with our decision.
Of course, you can’t forget the side of nuoc cham. Actually that’s all you have to choose from at Co’m. Instead of each table coming equipped with the full compliment of fish sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, and hoisin, it’s a clean slate at each table. Even though this nuoc cham was missing any pronounced fish sauce flavor, the sweetness and spiciness provided a nice addition to the flavor of the pork spring roll.

I wish I could say as many nice things about the shrimp spring roll.
Honestly, the shrimp were completely lost in this roll, but it was still satisfying with a liberal dip in the nuoc cham.
I’m not joking, it’s really hard to find the shrimp in these rolls.

When we arrived at Co’m, I halfway hoped there would be pho on the menu, but with a name like Co’m, I can understand why the beefy broth is conspicuously absent. Since my go to pho dac biet was nowhere to be seen, I went the safe route and ordered the house specialty, the Co’m Special with Short Ribs.
Maybe it’s my limited experience, but this is one of the few times I remember seeing short ribs on a Vietnamese menu.
Speaking of short ribs, these were quite well cooked but very reminiscent of Korean kalbi.
I’m not quite sure what you call this odd little slice of meat loaf, but it was satisfying, almost like an extremely meaty quiche.
One thing that threw me about the Co’m Special was the topping. Why was this excellent dish of broken rice and short ribs topped with cold minced meat and green onions? Another downside was the addition of nuoc cham. Maybe I’ve gotten too used to adding nuoc cham to other co’m dishes, but the addition of Co’m’s nuoc cham doesn’t do this any favors. What was a nice mélange of flavors quickly became sickeningly sweet.

While I liked a lot of what Co’m had to offer, I was quite surprised at just how much this restaurant toned down the pungent, striking flavors that I’ve come to know & love in Vietnamese cuisine. I’ve read other reviews where people concluded that Co’m dumbs down the flavors for the average Atlanta palate and I think I’ll have to join the chorus. Until I get my fully loaded condiment tray back, I think I’ll retreat to Pho Dai Loi #2, at least then I can get everything that I enjoyed at Co’m along with fish sauce, sriracha, and pho dac biet.

Co'm Address and Information
4005 Buford Highway NE, Atlanta, GA 30345 // 404.320.0405 // Co'm Website // Co'm Menu
Co'm Vietnamese Grill on Urbanspoon


Jody said...

The Saigon Vietnamese restaurant has the beef short ribs, pretty tasty, I usually ask for extra fried egg, comes with a bowl of Pho soup too.

Cynical Cook said...

Really? I have to look for that next time I go there for lunch.

Thanks for the heads up.

Anonymous said...

We ate at C'om a few years ago and loved it. Had the Goi Salad which was out of this world good. Did not try any of the dishes you describe.