Community Food & Juice
Craving some comfort food on a cold night last week, I decided to check out Community Food & Juice, a newish, homey, fresh-ingredients-driven spot up near Columbia. It's run by the Clinton Street Baking folks, so I figured that at least the bread would be good, but I must say I totally enjoyed everything I ate... and, since the place was packed by 7:00 on a Tuesday, that seems to be pretty much the norm.
I started the proceedings with a crock of rustic White Bean and Cerignola Olive spread—rich, fluffy and with a surprising bite—which I slathered over warm slices of Peasant Wheat. This was one of four bread-and-spread combos listed on the menu, any one of which seems to be the sensible way to begin your meal here.
Next up was the stunningly good Lotus BBQ Chicken Wings, the plump—but not steroid-y plump—and juicy bird bits grilled in sweet hoisin, beautifully balanced by a heavily salted lemon dipping sauce. It'd be tough not to order this again.
For my main course I went the mollusk route, and was rewarded with four plump and lovely Pan Roasted Diver Scallops, full-flavored and nicely "medium rare", holding their own against the generous accompaniment of bitter turnips and smokey ham. Maybe this dish was a tad too much of a good thing, but I'll take that over bland or boring 100 times out of 100.
Community Food and Juice is located on Broadway between 112th and 113th Streets. All of my many servers were smiley and efficient, and they fixed a gaffe—initially, all three of my courses were delivered at the same time, which is never ideal, but especially since I was dining alone, made me feel like Albert Brooks during the "nine pies" scene in Defending Your Life—in an unhesitating, professional manner. The atmosphere here is comfy and convivial, the prices gentle, the neighborhood crowd thick with students, including the friendly, chatty trio who "joined" me at my end of the communal table halfway through my meal. I'll definitely be back, with Bo and Co, and hopefully soon.