January was a busy month! I checked out Back Deck with the Boston Brunchers, and then on Wednesday 1/23 I visited Common Ground Bar & Grill in Allston for a Boston Brunchers tasting menu event.
Owner Bob O’Guin greeted us when we arrived, setting the relaxed and welcoming tone for the evening. His sincere interest in connecting with diners and sharing his passion for food is clear within seconds of meeting him.
For a place located in the heart of Allston (where Brighton Ave meets Harvard Ave), I wasn’t sure what to expect (greasy pub fare, sad salads…you know how places can be). But starting with our first course, the thoughtfulness and care for the food at Common Ground comes through.
Chef Jaime Suarez put together an impressive selection of food for our visit, allowing us to sample a range of offerings from Common Ground.
We started with the Sweet Potato Soup topped with Bleu Cheese Crumble. The soup was very sweet, but the tangy bleu cheese cut the sugar and added a creamy texture.
The Steak Salad followed – mixed greens, pickled red onions, lightly grilled pita, and feta cheese with three perfectly cooked seared steak tips.
Next was a Turkey Burger with cranberry mayo and house-made thick-cut turkey bacon. I had never tried turkey bacon before – it was delicious and far more flavorful than I thought it would be. The whole burger impressed me – moist, full of flavor, and all about the meat. It gave me faith in turkey burgers again!
With the burger also came a Brisket Turnover, which was an empanada-style bread filled with slow braised beef brisket and cheddar cheese, served with house-made marinara sauce. This was the only taste that was lacking for me – there was a little too much bread for the meat and the cheese seemed like an afterthought – but the brisket on its own was right on.
At this point in our tasting experience Renee and I shared a tasting flight of beer (not included with our meal), which is four tastings followed by a serving of whichever beer you’d like. For $12 it’s a great deal. It was also fun to pair all of these different flavors with the four beers. We ordered (from right to left) Dogfish Head Midas Touch, Magic Hat Circus Boy, 21st Amendment Fireside Chat, and the Big Eddy Imperial Stout. All were great – we went with Dogfish Head as our full-size serving (you can’t go wrong with Dogfish Head), and I’ll be ordering the 21st Amendment Fireside Chat and Big Eddy Imperial Stout again.
Our next tasting was the Drunk Pork – Guinness Braised Pork Belly with fresh apples, oranges, and grapes in a lemon honey sauce. This was cooked perfectly and the rich pork with light fruit made this dish very memorable.
Truffle fries with pesto mayo. If not for dinner, I will be back for beer and an order of these.
For dessert we were treated to Chocolate Butterscotch Bread Pudding topped with whipped cream. One of the best desserts I’ve had in a while – super moist, great subtle chocolate flavor, perfect silky texture, and paired really well with the Fireside Chat and Imperial Stout. If you find this on the menu at Common Ground, order it.
At the end of the night we received little gift packages with a Common Ground t-shirt, whisk (mine is green and perfect matches my knife stand!), peanut butter chips, and recipe for Common Ground’s Peanut Butter Pancakes with Strawberry Jam.
It was so nice to attend this tasting event with the brunchers and discover a new neighborhood place with friendly company. I look forward to returning soon!
My meal was provided free of charge from Common Ground through the Boston Brunchers. I payed for the beer and tip for my meal. As with all EatingPlaces content, opinions are my own.