Best get the full rack

The Colorado lamb rack at Community is a crowd pleaser, so prepare to share


2016 article in Restaurant Hospitality explored the rising popularity of the family-style restaurant model, the kind of places that encourage people to gather up their nearest and dearest and spend some quality time around the dinner table passing bowls of fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

But really, how “trendy” is family-style dining? The concept is a long-standing staple of many Chinese, Thai and Korean restaurants, where diners are often given a separate plate on which to serve themselves entrees from larger dishes.

There are local favorites you might not even consider family-style joints, like Ras Kassa’s two-person platters of wat and tibs, or a big pan of sharable paella from Cafe Aion. Even mega-chains like Olive Garden dish out baskets of bread sticks and bowls of salad for the whole table.

It’s all just a variation on how you eat at home, serving yourself from pots, pans and bowls around the dinner table — or even right from the stove.

So what Community is doing in Lafayette isn’t trendy, it’s welcoming. It’s sociable. It’s normal.

Community is a new player on the Boulder County restaurant scene, but with a prime location on S. Public Road and a patio worthy of precious summer Saturdays, it’ll be a sought after destination in no time. 

Community tells you what it’s all about right there in its name. Share this food with friends and family — offer up a chicken leg and make a friend of a stranger.

Driving the point home is a quote from Cicero, written boldly in red across a brick wall of the interior:

“We were born to unite with our fellow men, and to join in community with the human race.”

(Take note, Donald Trump.)

Community offers up a manageable menu of gussied up comfort food, from small plates of tartare, pork belly, sausages and hamachi crudo, to entrees of pork chops with cashew relish, herb citrus brined chicken (the most sharable of all of the entrees), lamb racks, cassoulet (a French stew of duck confit, white beans and pork), steak and seasonal fish.

Side items follow a more traditional path, with mac ‘n’ cheese, orzo pasta salad and seasoned vegetables among the offerings.

And while Community is built around the notion of sharing, the chefs have smartly engineered the menu to cater to both sharing and individual entrees. The majority of large plates aren’t so big that ordering one for yourself is ludicrous.

A standout among a menu of savory entrees is the Colorado lamb rack, and rightfully so. Colorado lamb is revered in the culinary world, showing up in restaurants around the country. The American Lamb board is located in Denver. We take lamb seriously around here.

Encrusted with Dijon mustard and cooked to a medium rare perfection, the lamb racks at Community are served atop pea puree, chickpeas and a tart salad of sorrel and arugula. The dish is decorated with beer-blistered cherry tomatoes and bittersweet little onions called cippolini.

While a half rack is perfect for one person, expect those around you to beg for a chop. Best get the full rack.

Community. 206 S. Public Road, Lafayette, 720-890-3793.