The Commons, a hidden gem of a cafe in Chelsea, is one of those perfect spots that pays just as much attention to aesthetic, as it does to the quality of its ingredients. Sarah Wallace, head chef and owner, talks about her favorite menu items, and even lets us in on her habanero mayo recipe…
What’s different about your food?
Nothing. I am of the opinion that great food or a great menu doesn’t always have to be completely unique to work. A large part of our success has been knowing what people want and consistently giving it to them.
Are you constantly making changes?
Yes and no. Some of our menu items are perfect the way they are and I do my best to leave them alone, but others I’m constantly tweaking, hoping to get more texture or flavor into the dish.
What’s always in your fridge?
Honestly, nothing. I’m at the restaurant 24/7 and haven’t cooked myself a meal at home since we opened in November. That being said, I used to always have a head of garlic, lemons, some fresh herbs and good olive oil.
Can you share any personal menu favorites from The Commons?
My favorite menu item is the Pork Sandwich. From its conception to it’s execution, it’s been the most challenging and fun item to work on. I also love the Avocado Toast. It’s so simple and so satisfying.
What’s the best time to come?
If you’re hoping to get a seat for lunch, noon is the best time to grab a table.
What don’t people order on the menu enough, that they should order more often?
The Mixed Baby Greens salad. The greens are beautiful, the Serrano ham is salty and delicious, the goat cheese is creamy and tangy and the toasted pine nuts round out the dish and all together I think it’s a damn fine salad!!!
What’s the secret to great coffee?
Great beans, great baristas. Luckily, we have both!
Is there anything in all of your dishes that screams “Sarah?”
Ha, my partners are always making fun of me because I try to add cumin to everything.