The Upper West Side gets a healthy new eating option, Communal Oven and Earth
Just in time for over-indulgence season, Communal, the "healthy-conscious community eatery" that opened last spring on West 72nd Street, is really hitting its stride. Featuring a full juice bar, an all-day menu of appealing breakfast and lunch dishes, and a low-light dinner vibe (with organic wines and beers) that runs deep into the night, this warm and convivial spot makes for a solid antidote to all of the cocktails, cookie platters, and groaning tables of holiday feasts that we'll be "forced" to devour in the coming weeks; Communal Oven and Earth right now appears to be paying attention its motto, "Made With Love In NYC".
Communal Oven and Earth: A Health-Conscience Cafe
Communal isn't vegetarian, or vegan, though there are plenty of options here if you are. What seems to guide the menu(s) is a commitment to fresh, quality ingredients, prepared simply and with care, all at reasonable prices. I went to Communal on one of those bitingly cold nights last week, and thoroughly enjoyed most everything about the casual atmosphere, friendly servers, and, most important, my dinner.
Made With Love In NYC, right here in the Upper West Side
The nighttime menu here has a section of "nibbles", a few entrees, a bunch of sandwiches and salads, and a number of flatbread pizzas. Communal almost dares you get what they straight-up call the Best Veggie Burger In Town, but I must admit it is pretty good, a chick-pea concoction that's nice and crunchy on the outside, topped with a mustardy spread, salty melted mozzarella, and served with an arugula-apple salad and pickles, which you can and should pile on at your leisure. Maybe it's not the BEST best (Cafe Blossom's mock Bacon Cheeseburger satisfies more completely, and Rippers in Rockaway has a memorable version as well), but it's good enough to leave you admiring their chutzpah rather than scoffing at their hubris.
Eat Right, Feel Right
Even better was my Greens and Roots Flatbread Pizza, and, really, it feels like this might be the go-to section of Communal menu. The crust was crisp and crackery and generously loaded with a nice balance of sweet potato, bitter greens, some kale, and chewy cheese. My guess is that any of Communal's flatbreads would be a good bet–there's one with pepperoni which I'll try next time–and because kitchen cuts the thing into handy, two-bite pieces, they make for a good shareable starter or snack with a glass of wine. Now, if only Communal wouldn't play such terrible music–the worst of any restaurant this year, jazzy easy listening covers of bad easy listening tunes, turned up way too loud, by which I mean "audible"–so you'd want to actually hang out at the bar…
For Menu and More Information on Communal Oven & Earth
Communal is located on 72nd Street between Broadway and Columbus Avenue, and is open daily, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, juice and drinks, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Check out their website for more information and a look at all of the menu options at Communal Oven & Earth. Don't forget to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.