While Provo (Utah, that is) has some decent eating establishments, many are chains and since moving here, I had yet to find a Foodie experience that I admire as can be found in the Salt Lake offerings. Well, that dry spell ended tonight under the deft hands of the staff of Communal, Sous Chef Luke and Co-Owners and Co-Chefs Joseph McRae & Colten Soelberg.
We traveled all of 8 blocks to reach the warm and inviting atmosphere of Communal - beautiful lighting and decor all centered around an open kitchen made for an upscale casual feel. Our server, Megan, was delightful from the first "hello" and we lacked for nothing. My dining companions were my Mom (a gourmet foodie for as long as I can remember) and my 13 year old son and 12 year old nephew; a challenging group.
We began our journey with a shared starter that included: meat from Caputo's, caramelized onions, tomato jam, house made pickles, crostini, melon and a tomato & goat cheese bread pudding. First impression ... YUM. and then YUM again. Each bite was an individual journey on its own and received thumbs up from the whole group. The favorite of the platter was definitively the tomato & goat cheese bread pudding.
The main entrees were next - hanger steak with bordelaise sauce, salmon with a tomato bacon vinaigrette, and the daily pasta preparation which was fettucine with an heirloom tomato sauce. Initially, both boys got the pasta but when it was not quite to taste for my kiddo, Megan scooped it up and insisted he order something else to try. And he did - the christiansen farms berkshire pork belly with a cherry sauce ... and he loved it - so much that we all barely snuck in a bite. We ordered the boulangerie potatoes as a starch and it came in a crock - red potatoes baked with onions and bacon and I was again reduced to noises and a WOW. WOW. WOW!
The hanger steak was cooked perfectly - I like it mooing and doing a dance and it did dance ... all the way to my mouth! The sauce was rich but did not overpower the meat at all. This dish also received 4 thumbs up.
Mom said the salmon was divine and FRESH ... and cooked just right. My bite confirmed the freshness and it was excellent. Even though I am not a salmon fan, the freshness and preparation were evident. Another four thumbs up.
My nephew enjoyed the pasta (judging from the empty bowl) - the serving was large with a hearty sauce. My son exchanged his pasta for the pork belly which had all of us mumbling unintelligible happy noises ... tender, moist, divine ... and with a side of the best mashed potatoes in the universe ... there were eight thumbs up.
Since the pork dish was an addition, the boys bellied up to the bar and chatted with Sous Chef Luke and Damian, the cook. Yet another example of the warm and friendly atmosphere at Communal ... it certainly made a wonderful impression on the boys who are ready to schedule another dinner!
Head Chef and Co-Owner Joseph stopped by the table and chatted for a few minutes and I could see where the gracious foundation of the staff came from - he made a point to talk to everyone in the dining room.
Our lovely meal was topped off with ... well, I would say dessert but it was more like ... Nirvana. We shared two desserts - the first was the amano's chocolate smore and the second was the cornmeal cake with strawberries. A pot of french press coffee and real cream and I was ready to pack my bags and move in to eat for the rest of my days!
Local, sustainable products ... a warm & caring staff ... a beautiful & inviting atmosphere ... creative and delicious food is what makes Communal. We will just call it our new favorite restaurant and be thrilled that it is in the neighborhood! Kudos ... truly well done and we can't wait to return!
We did not eat at the communal table - we did call ahead and make a reservation for a private table. The option is open to sit at the bar as well and chat with the Chefs! Starters range from $9 - $12, Entrees from $12 - $16, sides from $5 - $7 and desserts are $7.50. The menu does change, as well as include daily preparations, and the starter we had and the side were all portioned to be shared.
There is also a new blog - www.heirloomrestaurantgroup.com/blog - Pizzeria Seven Twelve in Orem is owned by the same group. My Mom and nephew are visiting for a few more weeks and before we were even done dinner, Mom said - "We have to come back before I leave! and add the other restaurant to our list."
To Communal - THANK YOU for a wonderful journey and we can't wait to see you again!