Looking for a cultured and decorative food restaurant with a great atmosphere and delicious findings? Go to Communal in Provo.
Communal is a small, corner restaurant located on University Avenue and 100 North in Provo, Utah. The idea is to take high-quality, high-class foods, and share them with friends. Each item on the menu is for the purpose of sharing with the rest of your party.
Justin and I went for our first anniversary dinner and really enjoyed it. It was actually the second time I had gone. The first was in 2010 for a “reunion” of Welsh study abroad friends. We had a group of 15-20, so they put us in a private room and we had quite the smorgasbord. I don’t really remember what we had because our Welsh professor ordered for the whole group–we just ate and talked. So, it was really nice to be in an intimate setting with one other person to choose.
Tayler: I loved the atmosphere–it was on the border of “cultured” and hipster, but leaning towards “cultured.” The other visitors were either older couples or those who dressed nicely. You could tell it was higher-class with the dishes (the presence of their plates are decadent), but they still tried to be New Age with the rustic decorations. It was very close quarters with an open kitchen. I loved being able to hear the sizzle of frying meat and the clang of the pans as I look out the window to see the setting sun over a major road in Provo.
Justin: It was honestly a really pleasant environment. A little small, but it kind of gave it a real homey feel. I love the presence of the open kitchen and the bar seating in front of it was a nice touch. What was impressive was how all of the food was local.
Food (3 courses and dessert)
Tayler: This dish was our “appetizer”–it came from the menu selection of “small shares.” I like pastry breads and so I was interested to see what a pea tart would taste like. Peas are one of my favorite vegetables, so I was pretty excited, although Justin looked hesitant. I loved how it looked when they put it on our table. Very picturesque. I have no idea what greens are on the top, but my first bite include all of it: tart, pea mush, and greens. I really liked it–I kept dipping my pastry in the excess pea mush on the plate. It was very sweet, but still tasting of peas. I could eat more.
Justin: The pastry was very flaky and buttery, the pea sauce was an interesting flavor. Overall it was pretty good. One pastry was enough for the two of us as an appetizer.
Tayler: These came from the menu selection “sides.” I love homemade mac and cheese no matter what. I liked the addition of ham and peas (like I said before, I love peas). But, I didn’t necessarily love the texture of the ham. But, the smoked white cheddar, I could definitely taste, and as I am a cheese connoisseur, that was my favorite part. I would’ve liked it to not be so liquidy and have the smoked cheddar be more solid and stringy, but I got the taste and that is what mattered. I saw “polenta” on the menu and couldn’t remember what it was, only that it was Southern and I’ve had it before and liked it. The carmelized onions and “creme” something caught my eye. When it came out and I saw it was fried corn bread, I was very excited. The creme fraiche (whatever fraiche is) made it moist and the onions gave the cornbread a sweet taste. I think we ate it too quickly because it was piping hot! Next time, I’d wait another minute or two before eating it.
Justin: The Mac and Cheese was rather good, but as Tayler said it was a bit liquidy. I was not impressed with the polenta though. It lacked flavor me for, but the caramelized onions on top were a good addition.
Tayler: The menu has a section called, “Large Proteins,” which is their main course. These are all $20 or more. We debated between the salmon and the ribs, but decided that the salmon would be a better combo with the rest of our choices. When it came out, we hesitated. This was it for us two to share? This small fillet for $20? I have to admit, I was definitely disappointed in the portion of it, especially knowing how much we both love salmon. But, the taste was great! On the plate they also had some sort of vinaigrette and I liked dipping the salmon into it. I don’t like cucumbers, and I’ve never really tasted radishes, but I ate my half of the salad. I even told Justin, “I don’t like cucumbers, you know this. But, I actually like this.”
Justin: In all honesty, I could have eaten all of the food they brought out for the two of us. The salmon was no exception. Tasty, but the portion size was ridiculous. Granted, it was the salmon, were we to get a different “large protein”, it would have been more expensive and likely larger in size, but I can’t guarantee it.
Tayler: This was actually their special of the night, so it wasn’t on the menu. I liked the carmelized almonds–they gave a very unique, interesting crunch to cobbler, which should already be somewhat crispy. I don’t think there was enough cobbler in the peach cobbler, though, and the dish was kind of hard to scoop out of for two people. But, it was warm and the peaches were delicious.
Justin: As per the theme of this place, tasty and small.
Tayler: I thought the service was great. Immediately when we entered the door, we were shown to a table with a menu. Just about every full table had their own server waiting on them–it was not understaffed in the least. Our waitress was very patient explaining all the ingredients in the dishes we were curious about and explaining how it was made. She also gave us her opinions as well. Because the kitchen was open, people sitting at the bar could watch the two chefs cook and the chefs held conversations with them. The point was to be very friendly and show what a community should be. They easily recognized regulars that came in while we were there. The service was absolutely wonderful.
Justin: Service was great. Very accommodating and friendly staff. There were several customers that were regulars and the staff recognized them and treated everyone rather well.
Overall, I give the place a 4 out of 5. The food was alright, the portion sizes were questionable, and prices were high. I give it a 2.5 out of 5.