601 San Mateo Blvd SE
Albuquerque, NM 87108
As I have mentioned before, Albuquerque is blessed with a vibrant Vietnamese community with fairly great restaurants. Luckily for me, one of these restaurants is about a 1/2 mile away. The restaurant also has the TV turned on to the local NBC affiliate, which means that on my typical lunch hour I can watch Days of Our Lives while eating lunch. It’s a wonderful, symbiotic combination.
Last week I had a craving for Com Tam, which is Vietnamese for broken rice (if I am translating the menu correctly). Broken rice are grains of rice broken during the milling process which are either discarded or traditionally used for food of low-income populations in Vietnam. Regardless of its status as an “inferior” rice product, the broken rice is typically cooked deliciously and served with grilled pork, shredded pork skin, and/or a pork meatloaf along side pickled vegetables. It provides a delicious and hearty meal and perfect for lunch when you’ve had little for breakfast.
I went to 2000 Vietnam and immediately ordered their combination Com Tam plate when I sat down. According to the menu, it has shredded pork, pork chop, a meat egg pie, half done egg, and fried tofu. After roughly 10-15 minutes waiting for my dish to cook and watching my soap opera, the dish arrived beautifully as promised. I poured the fish sauce over the dish first (something I learned on a visit to Asian Grill, which I will blog about in the feature) and began to dig in. The pork chop was wonderfully cooked with great slightly peppery seasoning. The shredded pork and pork skins were also good, with the saltiness of the shredded pork skin matching very well with the subtle sweetness of the fish sauce. The fried tofu was done well and had a good crispy texture to balance the rice. The egg was cooked over medium, allowing some of the yolk to ooze out and flavor the rice. There was a bit more rice than I expected, but my appetite meant that I was still able to eat it all. This was probably the best Com Tam dish I have eaten in Albuquerque.
While I did not order anything else that day, I should mention a visit to the restaurant a little earlier in the week where I ordered some egg rolls. Those egg rolls came out with one leaf of lettuce and fish sauce for dipping. The egg rolls were fried well done, without being too crispy, and had a great filling of ground pork and carrots. However, as usual I was disappointed in the lack of more lettuce and vegetables to accompany my egg rolls, as I would have in Orange County, Houston, or even Denver.
As for service, it was efficient and polite. While I don’t remember anyone asking me how the food was, the water refills were constant and servers were polite. All in all the food was delicious. While I can’t quite call this the best Vietnamese restaurant in Albuquerque just yet, it is a fierce and consistent competitor.