Communal has been generating a lot of buzz in the Provo area. With its focus on local, sustainable foods and quality presentation, those who have eaten there were most likely not surprised when Communal won the Best of State award in the New American category. Communal offers separate menus for brunch, lunch and dinner. Roni and I decided to give the Communal brunch menu a try, and we were largely impressed with our experience.
Every time I tell somebody about about Communal, the question inevitably comes up, “Why is it called Communal?’ I think a quick glance at the menu and the decor of this establishment can quickly answer the question. The first reason I would guess that restaurant is named “communal” is that whenever possible, the menu items come from local or community farms. Much of the meat seems to come from Christiansen Farm, while much of the produce comes from Jacob’s Cove, both local endeavors. The second reason I conjecture the restaurant is called Communal is that a large portion of the dining area is taken up by a large community dining table, as opposed to individual dining tables. This allows individuals to sit around a joint table, much as a family would gather around the dinner table. Finally, the dishes themselves lend themselves to community eating. Instead of each individual getting their own plate, one large plate of the ordered item is brought out and everybody shares from the plate.
In general, the service was responsive and helpful. Our server did take quite a while to come and get our order, but once he did he was quite good about making sure our glasses stayed full and attending to our needs. On a less awesome note, I did find that several mystery bits floating in my water, and Roni’s fork had several bits of food stuck to it. Considering that the water is supposed to be super-filtered pH balanced water, it was a bit disappointing to see bits floating in the water before we even received our food.
By far the best part of the experience, however, was the food. Roni ordered the eggs Benedict and I ordered the sausage and biscuits with a side of bacon. The eggs Benedict were perfect. The poached egg was expertly executed with a warm and creamy yolk that spilled out with the first bite. I thought the lemon in the hollandaise sauce nicely balanced the richness of the yolk, but Roni found the lemon a bit strong. The eggs came with a side of potatoes that were perfectly seasoned and cooked. The biscuits and gravy were perhaps even better than the eggs Benedict. The biscuit was crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. The biscuit was large, but the gravy was generously supplied. The gravy was savory, and wasn’t overly peppery (as I have found many country-style gravies can be). The house-made sausage was slightly sweet and provided a nice contrast to the savory gravy. The bacon, which is cured and smoked on site, had a full smoky flavor which was quite pleasant. It was, however, a bit tough and hard to chew.
Overall our experience was quite good. Reservations are a generally a good idea, though we have been able to get a table with a short wait. If we could find somebody to watch our kids in the morning, I think we would go back much more frequently. On that note, this is definitely not a place to bring young children. Hire a babysitter (or guilt a relative!) and go to Communal. It is worth it.
Category: Fine Dining
Food Quality: 5
Portion Size: 4.5
Overall Experience: 4.5
price (per item): $6-16
tl;dr: Leave the kids at home and enjoy the excellent food of Communal. It is worth the hype!
100 North University Avenue
Provo, Utah 84601