Restaurant Review: Mark Bucher's Community
The diner concept in Woodmont Triangle needs tweaking
Still, there are bright spots at Community, which seats 72 inside and has additional seating outside. The 3,000-square-foot space is light-filled from picture windows facing Norfolk and Fairmont avenues. The designer, Philadelphia architect Richard Stokes, gets all the midcentury modern diner references right, down to the orange-and-blue Howard Johnson’s color palette, Formica-covered peninsula counters with orange-and-green plaid swivel stools, brass hourglass wall sconces, globe pendant lights, and colonial stone walls commingling with wood paneling.
The light-filled interior at Community offers 72 seats, including swivel stools at the counter.
Beverages include classic cocktails (old-fashioneds, whiskey sours and the like), specialty cocktails (I’m partial to the I’ll Have What She’s Having, with gin, lemon, maraschino liqueur and mint), slushy boozy Slurpee riffs called slurpdees (down a whole Hurricane at your own risk) and adult milkshakes that recall after-dinner drinks of yore. The vibrantly green Grasshopper, a vanilla shake spiked with crème de menthe and crème de cacao, is a perfect stand-in for dessert.
A vanilla shake at Bethesda’s Community restaurant also comes in a version spiked with crème de menthe and crème de cacao.
Prime rib that was cold at dinner and served with a ramekin of chemical-tasting, beef-flavored jus, comes to life at lunch in a sandwich dressed with fresh horseradish cream, caramelized onions and pickled peppers. A ham, roast turkey, bacon and cheddar cheese club presses all the buttons you want from that abundant sandwich. Fried chicken and waffles (two chicken pieces at lunch, four at dinner) delivers meat that is nicely brined and moist, the coating pleasingly crunchy; the waffles, enhanced with cheddar cheese and chives, are tender but crisp. Fluffy buttermilk pancakes are terrific, and as wide as the dinner plate they come on, a design flaw given that syrup can flow off them onto the table. The cheeseburger is thick and juicy, its dry-aged beef imparting a nice tang to the patty, but Community really needs to lose the ubiquitous frozen shoestring french fries and figure out how to make them fresh.