Health food craze continues to spread, with new juice bars popping up across the Upper West Side faster then Starbucks. Communal Oven and Earth combines the city’s love for fresh pressed juices with substantial dishes; flat breads, salads, empanadas.
It’s a bright and comfortable restaurant, with plush couches in the front, and individual tables lining the wall and a long, light wooden communal space in the middle. You seat yourself, yet there is a full wait staff service. I’m sure this will change once the crowds begin to file in.
Towards the back, you can order juices and coffee to go, just like in the various juice bars across the city. But the option to sit adds an additional level of appeal to Communal.
For breakfast, delicious looking flat breads with perfectly poached eggs on top fill the tables. There are healthier options, too. I decided to try one of their fresh pressed juices, Mercy, along with a bright bowl of yogurt, house made granola and fresh fruit.
The thick Greek yogurt sits like ice cream scoops in the bowl with fresh fruit and a ridiculously good granola. On the side, a fresh pressed juice combines citrus and spice (ginger and cayenne) to help boost the metabolism. It’s a better fresher version of the spicy lemonades sold at all the various juice bars across the city. It’s sweet, spicy and extremely refreshing.
I’m slowly working my way through the Juice menu, enjoying the brightly colored cold-pressed juices served in Mason Jars to stay or branded plastic cups to go.
Dinner attracts a similar crowd, the same crew that likes to juice in the morning but eat something a little more fun at night. During happy hour, organic wines are served at a fraction of the price to pair with the variety of dinner-time flat breads, and diverse appetizers.
We decided to begin with a simple veggie crudite served with hummus and lemon-garlic yogurt.
Who knew that you could serve raw beets and it would actually taste delicious? Apparently they did at Communal, paired with freshly made chunky garlic-hummus and a light, tangy lemon garlic yogurt. The other crudite lack the pizzazz, but kick off the meal on a fresh note.
Baked meatballs sit in a bowl coated in a bright red tomato sauce and a dollop of oregano-infused ricotta.
The meatballs are simply prepared allowing for the sweeter sauce and tangy ricotta to elevate the flavors. It’s a easy, light appetizer.
Communal Oven and Earth is truly known for their ridiculous flat bread, utilizing fresh ingredients on a crispy thin crust. We ordered the Daphne Flat with four types of cheese, roasted eggplant and arugula.
Crispy flat bread with a slight sweetness is topped with a layer of melted, golden mozzarella and provolone. On top of the melted cheese, peppery arugula adds freshness with the smoky eggplant acting as the star. Creamy oregano ricotta and salty Parmesan finish out the flat bread. While Communal advertises these as ‘individual’ portions, if you’re trying to stick to the healthy theme you can easily share the flat breads among two, if not three people.
Communal Oven and Earth is a welcome addition to the Upper West Side bringing a wonderful twist to the healthy, juicing craze. I find myself here a few mornings a week, slurping a nutritious juice while reading a book. The environment is bright and comfortable, and while the service can definitely use a bit of fine tuning, it’s a place I would love to be here to stay.
Communal Oven and Earth – 141 West 72nd Street – New York, NY
Communal Oven and Earth
Location: West Village, NY
Type: American (Traditional)
Perfect For: Casual Meal, Farm to Table, Healthy Eating
Reservations: Not Accepted
Favorite Dishes: Mercy Juice, Yogurt, Daphne Flat Bread