If you are heading to Little Dom’s, there is very little stopping you on the ride up Hillhurst to distract you from eating there. There’s Home (bleh), Alcove (bleh bleh), and various yogurt places and restaurants with names like “Gastronomico” (bleh bleh bleh): there is nothing to sway you from going to Little Dom’s. Two weekends ago, we had our minds and mouths set on Lil D–but something *did* distract us, their discrete sign and us remembering that they had a flock of people in front of the place the past few times we’ve passed it. It’s a little hole in the wall called Community and it is a quaint little distraction.
The spot is the former location of old, Los Feliz classic Papa’s Place. Unfortunately, Papa likely got the boot as the ‘hood got cooler and cooler. The place faded away and, in its wake, Community popped up with zero bells and whistles.
The space is the flagship restaurant for Epicurean Umbrella, a “culinary consulting and event catering company.” Founded by Chef Al Gordon, PR gal Jennyfer Rodgers, and the “EU Consortium,” the restaurant is a gathering space and eating space.
Now, we are unfamiliar with EU’s vibe, food, and concept. Walking up, the windows of the space were lined with photos of their work, ostensibly pushing customers out because no one can see inside. Thankfully, the large, homey marker drawn sign detailed the menu and we were caught by their mentioning of fried chicken. We went inside and figured, hey, there’s no wait: this could be our new Lil D alternative.
The inside of the space is pretty bare. It certainly feels like a place where you prepare food–not consume food. There isn’t really any decoration and, aside from a few more marker drawn signs, there isn’t much going on. The menu is very inviting though, the aforementioned “Sunday Fried Chicken,” Community Grilled Cheese, OMG Lamb Sandwich, Community Cuban, and more pulling us in. The woman behind the counter was this delightful, slightly bumbling mom type who made it seem very much like she drew all the signs, she was making all the food, and that she started up a little restaurant after her friends told her, “Oh, you are such a great cook!” Unfortunately, she only worked the register. Looking over the menu one more time, we opted for the Cast Iron Chicken Sandwich and the Community Grilled Cheese with Potato Salad and fries. We also opted to sit outside because the inside was almost unbearable.
The food arrived after ten or so minutes, the mom running them out to us and telling us all about the food. The Cast Iron Chicken Sandwich is very similar to a Po’ Boy but with chicken instead of fish. The chicken is fairly light but erred a bit on the common side. The aioli it was prepared with was perfect and the vegetables and roll were great as well. Everything surrounding the chicken was spot on but the chicken was very much *almost* there. It was good but not great.
The fries were your standard fries but jazzed up with red seasoning that didn’t really bring about any spiritual awakenings. Like the chicken sandwich, they were good but not great.
The Grilled Cheese was something we got very excited about but, you know, it was just grilled cheese. Nothing too crazy about it, really. The bread was good, the cheese was good, and it was good all together. It didn’t have anything else extra to it, though: it too was good but not great. The potato salad followed suit; however, the presentation of it needed some help as it was literally a scooping of potato salad on parchment paper. It tasted fine but looked a little like an albino version of Krang escaped and was slinking around our tray.
As we sat and ate, we did notice that lots of people came to grab takeout, which is a sign that this place is definitely loved and needed as an alternative to Little Dom’s. We’d love to say it is the perfect alternative but it is very much rough around the edges. They are trying super hard but slip on the little things from the way the interior looks to the pictures obscuring the window to the potato blob. The food, too, needs a tiny kick in the pants especially considering it is coming from a catering/food consulting company. We had high hopes but they were not exactly met. In any event, we’ll have to return to try some other dishes to see if maybe we and Community made rookie mistakes.