“What the Fearless Critic books and apps have that UrbanSpoon and Yelp don’t is a complete lack of bullshit.”
“I’ve spent years driving around with Zagat...but I think I’ll replace it with this Fearless Critic guide.”
–Leslie Brenner,
Dallas Morning News
Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Daily 9:30am–7:30pm

Bar None
Credit cards None
Reservations Not accepted


Falls Church, VA
6795 Wilson Blvd.
Falls Church, VA
(703) 533-8440
Com Tam Saigon
Come for the com tam specialties

A classic Eden Center find, this tiny 30-year-old corner joint—completely within the mall—is distinguished, if you want to call it that, by bluish walls, knickknacks, and about six little tables full of local Vietnamese people, who are lorded over by a weird, cheesy wild horse poster and the obligatory television. Nothing else stands out, and the most notable thing about the space, really, is its smallness.

But small can also mean serious, and this kitchen—perhaps more than any other in the DC area—is really, really serious about com tam, a typical peasant dish that begins with what’s alternatively described by Vietnamese food aficionados as “broken rice” or “crushed rice.” (Traditionally, it would be leftover fragments that had broken off a quantity of whole rice.) The result is a texture somewhere between traditional steamed rice and cous cous.

That’s just the base of the dish. There are five potential toppings for the com tam, of which the best is a combination of grilled pork ribs, shredded pork skin, and eggs. Roasted quail is an interesting alternative, but the version with a pork chop, tofu, and Chinese sausage is less exciting. All of the com tam dishes are served with various greens and accoutrements, plus—of course—nuoc cham (fish sauce) to add salt and umami.

Although almost everyone here comes for the com tam, it doesn’t end there; they also do a good banh xeo (Vietnamese omelet) and respectable bun (noodle) preparations, including a nice mi thap cam (combination) and a competent version of bun mam (in a salty fish stock with shrimp, fish, and lemongrass). Throw in the helpful English-language menu and the unusually polite staff, and you’ve got an experience that is, even by itself, worth the trip from the District to Eden.

Be the first to leave a comment…