Communal Review & Giveaway

Disclosure: I got a free meal. I also got a $25 gift certificate that I’m not sharing with you, so don’t ask. (Enter the giveaway instead, ok?)

Also, over the summer I was asked to review quite a few restaurants and I said “No, but thanks for asking.” I made a new rule that I would no longer be accepting free products to review or free meals or the like. This is my blog and it’s not a billboard–even if I do like said products, etc.That being said, I made an exception because it’s my blog and I can do that. And because when you get asked to try out a new restaurant from Joseph McRae and Colton Soelberg, you don’t say no unless you are crazy. Even I’m not that crazy.

These opinions are all mine, and even if though gave me a free meal and a gift certificate, I am still giving you my honest review. Spoiler alert: I LOVED IT.

Let’s begin…

Communal is the brainchild of Joseph McRae and Colton Soelberg, the guys behind the famed Pizzeria 712. I love those two and their fab restaurants. They are changing the food scene here in Utah County for the better.

If you’ve been a long time reader, you know that our family likes to support local small businesses, grocery stores, and restaurants. And we like top-notch food which is hard to find at chain restaurants.

Communal, like P712, is dedicated to establishing a relationship with local farmers and businesses to bring the freshest seasonal ingredients directly to your table. It’s that whole “farm to table” thing you keep hearing about. And it’s awesome.

Rookie picked me up and we headed north to P-Town for lunch. (We were happy to see our other blogger friends, but really, we just wanted some good eats.)

Before we were served, Rookie and I walked around to check out the decor. The walls are covered with splendid artwork. The furniture is hip–but not too trendy. You’ve got to see their awesome bathrooms. (That might be worth the trip alone.) You can see more pics of the before and after on the P712 blog.

(Check out the pics of the super cool concrete counter being poured here.)

(A private dining room that is also equipped with all the technical stuff to accommodate business meetings.)


(Our table with cool lamps suspended above.)

This walnut bread was brought out first.

For me, bread is a good indication of how the rest of your meal will be. This bread was good. Soft, flavorful, just enough salt. The butter was yummy. It may have just been regular butter from the supermarket, but it tasted creamier and richer. (I don’t usually make these things up–I’m a girl who likes her butter.)

The menu said something about Heirloom Tomato Bread Pudding. Interesting, right?

AND DELICIOUS. This is peasant food at it’s best–bread cubes, fresh tomatoes, herbs, olive oil, and eggs. It was perfection.

Just when I thought you couldn’t get stellar tuna in Utah, they went and proved me wrong. The tuna was cooked perfectly (see that nice rosy rawness there in the middle–that’s how it should be) and had a flavorful green olive tapanade on the side. The frisee salad was the perfect accompaniment.

Next came Heirloom Tomato Salad with Onions and Cucumbers. The tomatoes are from Jacob’s Cove, a local farm. See those cute little orange tomatoes? Those were my favorite. Next year I’m planting them in my garden.

I think the Roasted Squash with Apples and Thyme and the Potato Leek Gratin came out next. Both dishes were great and pushed me right into the mood for fall cooking.

Are you wondering how I ate all of this by myself? I didn’t. The whole idea behind Communal is to enjoy a Sunday dinner type meal–the kind you share with the person across from you. That person happened to be the lovely Rachel from Black Eiffel. (She’s as lovely as can be.)

Above is the Flatiron Steak with Gremolata Butter (flavored with fresh herbs, lemon and garlic)


Seared Sea Scallops with Tomato Relish. The relish was sweet, the scallops were tender, my mouth was happy.

I read somewhere or heard someone say recently that they were so disappointed when they would go out to dinner with other people and someone would order chicken. Chicken is a pretty safe bet at most restaurants. But I bet you it’s not this good. The flavor of the rosemary was infused throughout the chicken. The outside was crisp and salty, the inside was super tender and juicy. It has an interesting name–Airline Chicken. But it’s unlike anything you’d ever find on an airplane dinner tray. As in–this chicken is spectacular. Mmm.

Of course, I was looking forward to dessert.

Below is a Caramel Chocolate Tart made using local Amano chocolate. I have made similar tarts before, so I was curious. The Amano makes it. It’s serious chocolate–not for those who like Hershey’s or Nestle and think dark chocolate is “gross”. I’ll have to save another day to sing the praises of Amano chocolate. (BTW–I wouldn’t say no to some free chocolate from them either.)

I saved the best for last. We Johnsonians have a preference for creamy, custardy desserts. This is the Butterscotch Pot de Creme.

I took the first spoonful while everyone was listening to Joesph and Colton talk about Communal and their plans (hint: more restaurants and a catering business are in the works).

I didn’t want to share with Rachel. I didn’t…don’t tell her though. I don’t want her to think I was jerk or anything. I may have even had one or two spoonfuls more than she did. Because I didn’t want everyone to know what a heathen I can be, I refrained from licking the ramekin. I just scraped it about as clean as I could with my spoon.

Anyway, I guess I sort of like this place. And I have plans to go back often.
___________________________________________________________

Do you want to go there? I bet you do! Leave a comment on this post (the one you are reading) to enter the giveaway for a $35 gift certificate.

I can’t personally keep track of extra entries via Twitter or FB or who has subscribed to my feed. Everyone has one entry and that makes it fair and square.

Rules:

1. One entry per person
2. Leave your comment on this post before 10:00 PM on Sunday. (I try to be bed early.)
3. Tell your friends or don’t if you want a better chance at winning. (Not really a rule.)
4. If you leave your comment anonymously, how will I know it’s you? Be sure to leave a name or e-mail at least, okay?
5. If the winner don’t respond to me in two days, they lose! I’ll give it to someone else.
6. You can take me with you, if you want, but it doesn’t increase your chance of winning.
7. I’m out of other rules, so….

Get cracking.

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65 Comments

  1. Can I enter? $35 would add to my gift cert. I already have and then Ethan and I could eat for free. Okay, I probably can’t enter. I am not that greedy.

    But in all honesty, that was some of the most bitchinest food I have ever had. And the thanks goes to you.

  2. I need this. I haven’t eaten good food in weeks because of breastfeeding, and now I have to quit and am depressed. Food that isn’t mainly composed of rice sounds amazing. This might make me feel slightly better.

  3. I’ve been following your blog for awhile, but I don’t think I’ve ever commented…sorry. Leave it to a giveaway to get me out of my shell. I would LOVE to try Communal out and that gift cert will make it that much better! twinsej at gmail dot com

  4. This is like 3 blocks from my house and I have been watching the most magical transformation during construction. I’m already a HUGE fan of 712, and I KNOW this will be beyond amazing.

  5. Loved the review, especially the Heirloom Tomato Bread Pudding and the Amano chocolate. I’m a huge dark chocolate fan, especially in (you guessed it) chocolate chip waffles.

  6. I loved Pizzeria 712 when I finally took the opportunity to have lunch there with my wife. I’ve been watching for Communal to open, and now there’s a chance for a gift certificate??? How can I not enter?

  7. I got a request to do a review as well and after doing it I decided it wasn’t worth it. I’m jealous you got to go to review Communal, wish I’d have been invited!

    Even if I don’t win I think I’ll visit someday. My husband owes me a date night.

  8. My husband and I are huge fans of Joseph and Colton. Not only are they great chefs, but they are two of the nicest guys on the planet. Who wouldn’t love to have an excuse to go visit them at Communal!

  9. Pizzeria 712 is my favorite restaurant around and I’ve been following Communal since the owners mentioned opening a new restaurant months ago. The good reviews it’s received have only heightened my anticipation. I’m excited to try this place out!

    Eric Dowdle
    edowdle@byu.net

  10. I’d love to win and surprise my husband for his birthday later this month. Even if I don’t win, I love catching your reviews of the newest “must-try” spots in UC. Thanks!

  11. I don’t even live in Utah and I totally want to go to this place. That food is spectacular–especially the tuna. Oh, and anything made with dark chocolate. I’m inspired now to try my hand at winter squash roasted with apples and thyme. Maybe I’ll just have to drag my hubby next time we visit relatives…

  12. Man Linds, I should catch up on your blog more often – I can’t believe I’m late in entering this by 2 hours! And I’ll be in Utah in a couple of weeks!

    Oh well, we’ll be in Cache Valley anyway …. Although, this place looks great. You know I love farm to table, and this looks like it could rival Blue Hill. Maybe we’ll make the trip down (I’ll go anywhere for good food.)

  13. I’m a little late…

    Comments are now closed for this giveaway.

    The last two will be added in just because I’m nice and I sort of forgot last night to take care of business. :)

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