Never in a million years did I think I’d find awesome brunch in the no man’s land between the Upper West Side and Harlem. So when my friend, Val picked Community Food & Juice on 112th, I had no idea what to expect.
Turns out, this area is happening on a chilly Sunday afternoon. Hoards of well dressed individuals stand outside waiting for tables at the numerous brunch spots scattered along Broadway. I artfully maneuvered myself past the crowds to find my friend, Val and her sister, Carla, waiting by the window and adjacent bar area for our table. They had timed the meal perfectly at noon, allowing for us to be seated just as the crowds seemed to multiply.
The inside and decor is bright and welcoming, with colorful paintings lining the white washed brick walls. Rustic, wooden tables and clear, plastic chairs create a comfortable environment, in the loud, friendly restaurant.
We were seated towards the front, where hoards of individuals gathered near our table in hopes of finding out from the hostess that it was time to eat. At times these people could be slightly annoying, but for the most part we were able to enjoy our meal uninterrupted.
Most food here is organic and locally sourced, with a slightly eclectic twist making everything not as it seems. With Val’s recommendation, I strayed from my typical smoked salmon and egg dish, opting for the Huveos Rancheros. Carla ordered the same, and Val switched it up with the breakfast sandwich, served on a homemade biscuit.
Shortly after placing our orders, with our stomachs growling, the dishes arrived. Large, ceramic skillets containing the huervos were placed in front of Carla and myself, with a whicker basket containing warm tortillas on the side.
I might be converted to the huervos rancheros from here on out. This dish was unlike the normal impression I have of Mexican breakfast, with layers of salsa and an unnecessary pile of cheese coating all of the beans and eggs. Fresh ingredients played the key role in elevating the huervos rancheros from other versions. Instead, this dish was unusually light, with sunny side up eggs oozing all over the beans and corn salsa. The creamy avocado mellowed out the subtle spice hidden into the bean and corn mixture. The roasted tomato added an light smokiness to the already flavorful dish, hitting every part of palate. I found the tortillas almost unnecessary, with the light dish easily standing on its own. I definitely understood why this was one of Val’s favorite dishes at Community.
Val had the Breakfast Sandwich, which once again used extremely fresh ingredients elevating the dish from your traditional deli version.
The chicken apple sausage is what sets apart this breakfast sandwich from all others. It’s a meatier, sweeter patty giving a unique depth of flavor to the other simple ingredients. Whole wheat biscuits, acts as the vessel holding the sausage, cheese and eggs together into one light and flakey sandwich. Golden, crispy hash browns on the side round out the dish, making it a really fun, whimsical play on a traditional breakfast.
Community Food & Juice completely changes my perception of the Morningside Heights area of the UWS. I really would never venture there without having know what to look for. I don’t know if I would regularly head up there, since it seems to be a destination only spot, where you go and then head back to your normal neck of the woods. But for a unique adventure in a new neighborhood, Community is adorable and serves a great brunch.
Community Food & Juice – 2893 Broadway – New York, NY
Community Food & Juice
Location: Upper West Side/Harlem, NY
Perfect For: Chronic Brunch, Casual Meal, Outdoor Seating, Farm to Table
Reservations: Not Accepted
Favorite Dishes: Huevos Rancheros, Breakfast Sandwich