Friday, January 16, 2009

Burger And Beer Nite

When my personal trainer learned of my plans to participate in Burger and Beer Night on the upper west side, the first things she said to me was, "don't eat the French fries."  As if holding back on the fries would in any way mitigate the fat and calories consumed by the burger and beer.  Anyway, she would be proud.  By the time my burger arrived at Community Food and Juice, the hand-cut, skin-on fries were of little concern.  

Even though Community Food and Juice lies smack in Columbia University territory, and even though school is out of session until Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and even though last night marked one of the coldest of the year, Community was packed.  Like many other restaurants aiming to beat the recession, Community has recently added a burger promotion to their menu: on Thursday nights, from 6-7 pm, you can get a farm-raised burger, fries, and a beer for a paltry $15.  We missed the bargain, which made it easier to consider the rest of the menu.  Comfort foods, from macaroni and cheese to panko-breaded chicken abound.  For the health-conscious, Community offers a selection of rice bowls and veggies.  

But we came for burgers, so burgers it was.  To start, we ordered a flatbread pizza topped with two cheeses and fat slices of duck bacon.  And then... the burgers.  Community serves their patties on glossy, buttered, brioche-like rolls.  Accoutrements include house-made sweet pickles, caramelized onions, white cheddar (which I skipped) and watercress.  I could have used a tomato, but 'tis not the season.  Anyway, the patty is full-flavored enough to enjoy in a minimalist manner.  

In lieu of beer, I enjoyed a bourbon apple cobbler, basically a strong marriage of bourbon and fresh cider, garnished with a slice of green apple.  Community places an emphasis of locally sourced and fresh foods, evidenced by their clever drink list.  Even the cranberry margarita comes with real cranberry juice, a departure from the burgundy stuff to which we've grown accustomed.  

For dessert, we sampled both the chocolate and butterscotch puddings, as well as the warm cookie plate.  Butterscotch pudding was tasty but watery and unset.  The dish's best feature was its accompanying toffee chips.  Chocolate pudding, on the other hand, was firm, rich, dark, and garnished with chocolate whipped cream and shaved chocolate.  We made a parfait from the remains.  Chocolate chip cookies were better than Toll House, served three to a plate, still warm. My trainer would be proud to hear that I was too full to do much damage; I didn't even finish dessert.

Community Food and Juice
2893 Broadway
New York, NY 10025

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