Community Food & Juice Misses the Mark Again

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It’s Pancake Month according to Gridskipper.com. So when my family told me they’d be coming into Manhattan for breakfast, NYC Food Guy said “Community Food and Juice“.

Community, the UWS healthy/organic sister of Clinton Street Baking Company, serves the same legendary pancakes and French Toast as its sibling, the latter of which I enjoyed a few months back.

My previous enjoyment, however, came with some displeasure. The Grilled Cheese wasn’t melted well and the fries were soggy and weird. Community was a few weeks old at that point, so we chalked it up to finding their groove. Unfortunately, I felt the same way today, months after “finding their groove” lost its lease as a valid excuse.

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How can you go wrong with Blueberry Pancakes, a smoothie, and a bacon, cheese omelet? Read on to find out.

Plus, a look at the new juice & smoothie bar.

Last summer I had these Banana Walnut Pancakes (phone pic) at Clinton Street Baking Company. I had been craving these for years after reading about them in NY Magazine. They were served with warm maple butter and lived up to everything I dreamed of. I spied the French Toast during this summer trip and vowed I would get that next time.

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Long story short, I ended up eating the French toast, served exactly the same way, at Community, and it was amazing. Some of the best I’ve ever had.

Fast forward to today. My family wants breakfast during pancake month, we’re going to Community. My parents are both healthy people so I figured they’d love it. The only pancakes Community serves, however, are of the blueberry variety, no banana walnut here. The maple butter remains and that stuff is liquid gold.

Why the pancakes disappointed…

1) Small portion. Look at the size of these? They barely fill up half the plate. I was only filled up afterwards as a result of my smoothie and a few bites of my sister’s omelet.

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2) Lack of blueberries. Take a look below. I didn’t find a blueberry in my pancakes until nearly halfway through. And even when I got there, the count was low.

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Okay, in the end, these were still tasty pancakes, light and airy but just a little ordinary for my expectations.

A word on the maple butter:

Maple Syrup, good. Butter, good. You can’t go wrong. It looks like butterscotch but tastes like an orgy in your mouth. I don’t know how they make it and I don’t need to know. All I know is it’s an essential accompaniment to any breakfast item at Clinton Street Baking Company or Community Food and Juice.

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I learned one thing:

Brave the wait down on Clinton Street and get the Banana Walnut Pancakes if you want to experience the true flapjack glory.

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My sister’s applewood double-smoked bacon and cheddar free-range omelet was a sad sight. Have you ever seen an omelet so oddly yellow and plastic outside of your college dining hall? I know I haven’t. It tasted like my college dining hall too. In fact, I might go as far as saying the omelets at Binghamton University’s dining hall, egg beaters and all, are better than the one I tasted at Community Food and Juice.

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Why the omelet was so bad…

  • Weird Texture. Rubbery and way too firm.
  • Ordinary flavor. It tasted like eggs but it didn’t taste anything like the delicious organic eggs my mom cooks with at home.
  • Weak bacon. Obviously pre-cooked and probably pre-shredded for a quick toss into the omelet.

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My sister did like the hash browns and toast however, so at least they did something right.

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The “Juice” aspect of the restaurant’s name refers to a juice bar off the front entrance which offers take-out smoothies and juices and serves the same stuff in the dining room.

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The juice bar was unfinished when I first ate at Community, but I was pretty pumped to try it out after hearing about the Nutter Butter. Quit your giggling and check out the rest of the menu.

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I got a free sample of the Nutter Butter and it was pretty bland and actually had pieces of peanut in it. Not what I’m looking for in a smoothie.

I ordered a Great White Way, banana, vanilla frozen yogurt, shredded coconut, and cinnamon.

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The smoothie sounded promising but also disappointed…

  • The consistency was too thick. This wouldn’t have been an issue if the smoothie was cold.
  • It was lukewarm. No presence of the “frozen” yogurt. I like a cold smoothie, somewhat similar to a milkshake. Maybe my expectations were off. It could have used some crushed ice and maybe a little milk to thin it out.
  • Awkward flavor. Everything was there, the coconut, the banana, and the cinnamon. They just didn’t meld together into anything that resembled harmony.
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Trust me, I’m as disappointed as you are. I wanted nothing more than to have a Clinton Street Baking Company 20 blocks from my house instead of 120. I’ll be honest though, maybe my family and I ordered the wrong stuff today because everyone else looked generally happy and no one else was eating pancakes or omelets.
In the end, I won’t be running back to Community Food and Juice anytime soon. If I do, I’ll be getting the French Toast. I will, however, go back to the LES and wait for a taste of Clinton Street Baking Company’s Banana Walnut Pancakes any day of the week.

Community Food and Juice

2893 Broadway near 112th St.
New York, NY 10025
(212) 665-2800
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3 Responses to “Community Food & Juice Misses the Mark Again”

  1. food for thought Says:

    I have been eyeing the french toast photo from your first visit and finally went to Community to sample the brioche french toast. It was tasty and light and not too sweet. The caramelized banana and pecans were a nice touch. Coffee was warmly ok, hot would have been better.
    Looking down the community table, I could see other menu offerings. The yellow omelet stands out like a glow in the dark moment!! Happy I didn’t order it. I liked the setting and might return to try the veggie sandwich.

    By the way…your photos say a thousand words…..sometimes they say “yummy” and other times they say “not for me”.

  2. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Food for thought-

    Good to hear you had a nice experience. I have to agree with you, it is a nice setting. Well lit from the big windows that overlook the sidewalk, good for people watching. I sat at the community table also and didn’t feel that crowded in, which was surprising.

    That’s a great description of the omelet, glowing in the dark. It looked abnormally yellow, pretty odd.

    Thanks for the kind words about the photos, I figure I have to show the people what they would, or in your case, wouldn’t be eating.

    Thanks for the feedback. Keep it coming.

  3. BehgoBehgo Says:

    I completely agree with your sister on the omelette! i’ve had a plasticky omelette before at Cheesecake Factory…. it’s just TOO unnatural! where are the specks of white/yolk? and it didn’t even taste like eggs!! i’m extra careful when ordering omelette’s now 😀

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