Fabulous spring flavors harvested for Commune’s ever-changing menu – The Virginian-Pilot
I’ve been a fan of Commune since visiting just after the farm-to-table restaurant opened in October 2015.
Located a few blocks from the Virginia Beach waterfront in the ViBe Creative District, the farmhouse-style urban restaurant serves a menu of seasonal and sustainable specialties made with local ingredients.
Others are fans of fresh, sometimes offbeat offers. In less than seven years, farmer/owner Kevin Jamison opened Prosperity Kitchen and Pantry, a bakery and pizzeria, across the street, and a second Commune, located in Norfolk’s Neon District.
EAT IT: APPLE HAM FONDANT, $16
During my visits to Commune, I have come to expect a changing and evolving menu that follows the seasons and the availability of ingredients. The menu also seems to take the temperature of the public, delivering exactly what people are craving at the right time.
On a recent visit, I was delighted to find a sandwich that married several of my favorite foods, the Apple Ham Melt.
Between thick slices of perfectly toasted sourdough bread, rich in flavor and texture, are layers of thinly sliced fresh local apples, Commonwealth cured country ham and sassy chilli cheese. The tender is served with a choice of fries or a salad of fresh vegetables lightly tossed with a tangy vinaigrette; I chose the latter.
Everything worked for this sandwich. The crusty bread was the perfect platform for the softer ingredients. The apple sweetness was a salty ham and spicy chilli foil. The chili cheese was also creamy, making it not only an ingredient, but also a condiment.
My vows to take half the big dish home for breakfast the next day were broken once I had the first bite. And I’m not sorry.
THE DRINK: HUMMINGBIRD
I love the airy lightness of spring, and Commune’s Hummingbird cocktail not only evokes that feeling with its name, but also through its fresh, vibrant flavors.
Like the dishes on the menu here, the cocktail ingredients are also local.
In a tall wine glass rimmed with blackberry sugar, a fabulous, fragrant blend of lemon liqueur from the Chesapeake Bay Distillery – literally located next door – pairs with lavender syrup and sparkling wine from Barboursville Vineyards.
The gorgeous citrus of lemon liqueur mingles with the floral essence of lavender syrup, and it’s hard not to believe you’re in a springtime garden when the glass is raised to your nose.
Other garden elements come into play with the first sips, which taste of tart blackberry and sweet sugar on the edge. Everything is sweetened by the sparkling wine – which comes from one of the best vineyards in the state. The wine also gives the drink a nice liveliness and effervescence.
Commune is at 501 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach. Call 757-963-8985 or visit www.CommuneVB.com
A LA CARTE
There are plenty of opportunities in Virginia Beach for Sunday Easter extravaganzas: here are three of our picks for where to jump:
Easter Brunch at New Realm Brewing Co. takes place from 10:00 a.m. to noon. A fixed rate includes a buffet breakfast and a beer for adults.
Menu items include cookies and gravy, waffles, scrambled eggs, applewood smoked bacon, pancakes and more. The Easter Bunny will make a special appearance.
New Realm Brewing Co. is located at 1209 Craft Lane, Virginia Beach. Call 757-302-8550 or visit www.NewRealmBrewing.com.
Easter Brunch at The Founders Inn and Spa starts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Look for a hearty brunch buffet, kids’ entertainment and egg hunts, plus a visit from the Easter Bunny.
The Founders Inn and Spa is located at 5641 Indian River Road, Virginia Beach. Call 757-366-5777 or visit www.FoundersInn.com.
Easter Brunch at Commonwealth Brewing Company takes place from noon to 4 p.m., with a specialty brunch menu, mimosas, beer slashes, an offering of beers, ciders and seltzers, and music by Cody Browning.
Commonwealth Brewing is located at 2444 Pleasure House Road, Virginia Beach. Call 757-305-9652 or visit www.CommonwealthBrewingCompany.com.
Blue Pete’s Restaurant celebrates the spirits at Bourbon Social Club: House of Suntory from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on April 21. The offer includes whiskey and cigar training from Emerson Cigars, specialty spirits and cocktails, three chef-prepared pairing courses, a raffle for a number of items, and access to rare and hard-to-find samples of bourbons. Tickets are limited.
The Blue Pete Restaurant is located at 1400 N. Muddy Creek Road, Virginia Beach. Call 757-426-2278 or visit www.BluePetesPungo.com.
Grab your spoon and head to the East Coast She-Crab Soup Classic on April 23 from noon to 2:30 p.m. The competition, which features regional restaurants vying for People’s Choice and Critic’s Choice awards, takes place at 24th Street Stage/Park at the waterfront. Sample more than a dozen area restaurants.
For more information, visit www.BeachEventsVB.com.
Patrick Evans-Hylton PatrickEvansHylton@gmail.com