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Friday, November 1, 2013

A second try at Sobban turns into a meal at Co'm

Last Friday, inspired by Christiane Lauterbach's praise, I made my second attempt to dine at Sobban. (Jennifer is reviewing it next week). The place radiates a magnetic field - so much so that there was no place for eight of us to dine. The one community table was an option, but it was occupied by three couples. Long waits are not in my vocabulary, so we decided to head to Co'm on Buford Highway.

I hadn't eaten there in a long time, and was surprised to find the place almost empty. In all honesty, I've come to like Chateau de Saigon more. Flavors at Co'm are still strong, but presentation isn't what it used to be. That may make no difference at all to most people, but I thought it was part of the aesthetic there.

I ordered the salad with papaya, green mango, and Fuji apples (top photo). It's a very large portion and, if you add meat to it, you can make it an entree. I also got my usual bowl of rice noodles (bún) mixed with greens. There are many versions, and I chose grilled pork with egg roll. I always mix some Sriracha with the fish sauce before pouring it over the bowl and tossing the contents.

It is almost embarrassing how often I eat bún dishes. When the folks at Saigon Basil see me drive up, they immediately begin preparing my usual bowl topped with pork, eggroll, and shrimp (#9 on the menu). I know you're going to question this, but I actually find their bún bowls better than Co'm's. Of course, Co'm does offer some comparatively exotic toppings like grape leaves stuffed with pork, duck, or lamb. Shrimp paste wrapped around sugar cane is also available, along with flounder or salmon.

An appreciated oddity: Co'm now serves a free dessert at the end of meals. Friday night, it was a mocha-chocolate cake (right photo) - quite delicious, but kinda odd for a Vietnamese restaurant, at least in my experience.

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