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Community Restaurant Is A Great, Reliable Go-To Place Near Columbia That Serves High-Quality Food

December 1, 2011

I’ve recently moved into the Columbia University area. While there are some places in the neighborhood that I treasure (I’m looking at you, Mel’s, and also V&T also continues to hold a special place in my heart), the area is not really known for having much by way of dining options. Don’t get me wrong, there are a million places to eat, it’s just that there aren’t many of them that I’m aware of that are particularly good or would justify going out of your way for. I intend to outline over the coming days and weeks the ones that are recommended, but that’s for later.

No, being near Columbia means you have swarms of college kids, with their youthful metabolisms and student budgets. The result: Most places seem to emphasize quantity over quality. You can get jumbo portions of something that tastes basically O.K. and there you have it. Forget about high flying quality, ambiance and presentation. In most places the atmosphere is driven by young people and can be hectic.

But is there anyplace that’s any good?

Plenty of glass to greet you.

Welcome to Community.

Community is as close as I’ve seen to a “white tablecloth” restaurant in the neighborhood, without actually having white tablecloths. Granted, there are some other (actual) white tablecloth joints, but few have anything to write home (or blog) about.

Community has an eclectic menu with a strong emphasis on locally-sourced fresh ingredients. I am a big fan of their matzoh ball soup and brick chicken.

The matzoh ball soup is utterly winning.

The matzoh ball soup is good because it really tastes home-made. Some places you can get the so-called “Jewish penicillin” make it far too salty, or occasionally too greasy. Not Community, where it’s in a simple seeming chicken stock with plenty of fresh dill. It’s not too salty. The kneidels are sinkers, though. There’s plenty of carrots and celery. Frankly, the soup blows me away: the broth is perfect. Some might criticize it for being too light, but they’d be wrong. It’s fantastic – airy, not overwhelming, fresh and light. Importantly, it is not too salty nor greasy. Truth be told, the kneidels are a touch on the Spaldine side though, and could benefit from a slightly lighter character.

Admit it, it's pretty.

The brick chicken is wonderful. First of all, I almost never order chicken when out (it always tastes like chicken). This however is crisp, buttery and delicious. They’ve made it comfort food. The portion is ample without being overwhelming, and the presentation is accomplished as well.

What can I say? The place is a winner. It’s not a particularly intimate place (see the restaurant’s name for a hint on what to expect). But if you’re looking for some good, reliable food in the Columbia area (beyond the delicious triumph of the burgers at Mel’s) it’s easy to recommend Community. It gets a lot right, and this neighborhood really needs it. Kudos.


2893 Broadway
New York, NY 10025

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