>> Thursday, January 24, 2013
There’s something that, until recently, I didn’t really appreciate about Boston.
We really holds our own when it comes to local craft beers.
From Pretty Things to Jack Abbey and my newly discovered recent darling, Blatant One, Boston has been churning out some pretty incredible beers.
At the same time, more and more craft-beer focused restaurants have been popping up in Cambridge. Lord Hobo opened in November of 2009 and focuses on many import beers. Mead Hall opened in Kendall Square in April of 2011 and boasts an impressive selection of beers.
And then there are the old standbys who have been around for ages.
I visited Cambridge Common for the first time back in 2000. At the time I didn’t live in the area and thought that it was sort of located in an area that wasn’t super convenient. Nestled between Porter and Harvard Square on Mass Ave, Cambridge Common is a good 5-10 minute walk from both T-stop.
However, now that I live virtually across the street from the restaurant, I’ve come to appreciate it as a place that has an awesome selection of beer (31 on tap!), good solid food, very reasonable prices, and friendly service.
It’s our go-to standby when we feel like munching on some casual grub nearby without breaking the bank.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
I would characterize Cambridge Common as a New England gastropub whose food is just a tad tweaked for the Cambridge audience. Of course you have your typical fish & chips, burgers, BLTs and the like. However, you also have the option of getting Italian pastas, roasted Brussels sprouts, a “soup of the day” that’s always vegetarian, and globally inspired plates such as paella or hummus and falafel.
Fried Pickles - $5.95
Not surprisingly they do fried things really well, and one of our favorites is the beer battered fried dill pickle spears, which are served with ranch dressing and spicy chipotle aioli for dipping. The tartness of the pickle balances out the spicy deep fried coating, and the appetizer is surprisingly addictive.
Sliced Sweet Potato Fries ($5.95)
Similarly, we love the sliced sweet potato fries - corrugated fried potato slices whose many ridges offer that much more surface area of “crunch.” It’s become our new go-to starter that we get every single time.
"Uncommon BLT" - $7.95
The sandwiches are excellent. I often get the Uncommon BLT, which uses apple smoked bacon and comes with avocados, baby spinach, and tomatoes. If you go during Sunday brunch, you can get a fun brunch version that not only includes avocadoes but also a fried egg. I love the spiced curly fries that come with the sandwiches (but then I sort of have a weakness for spicy curly fries).
Dinner offerings are solid but have been a bit more underwhelming. The Chicken Parmesan (pictured up top) is hearty, bold, and generously portioned, giving us plenty of leftovers for another meal. However, the pasta texture leaves something to be desired (it's a bit mushy). The paella is pretty average, though to be fair, it costs well under $15 and therefore is limited in its ability to include higher priced seafood (it’s mostly squid and mussels).
Chicken Cous Cous Salad
They have some healthier options, such as the Chicken Cous Cous Salad, which has a nicely seasoned lemony salad (though the chicken itself is a tad dry). Bryan tried the Taco Salad recently, which he thought was slightly underwhelming.
Every time we have gone, we have had excellent service in a cool, no-nonsense kind of way. The servers all know beer really well and will happily recommend various beers or even let you try a small flight to decide which you like best. The last time I went, the server even let me sample a taste of the two available soups, which was really helpful.
The prices are very reasonable – most lunch items cost around $10 and most dinner entrees are in the $12-$15 range.
As I said before, the beer selection is excellent. They have thirty-one beers on tap, including many local craft beers. They offers various sort of flights or you can design your own. You can always sample a beer before trying it, which is fun.
The other day, Bryan and I didn't get home until past midnight from a late flight into Boston. We were thrilled to discover that Cambridge Common opens until 2AM (kitchen closes at 1AM).
Thanks to Cambridge Common, we didn't have to go to sleep hungry that night.
1667 Massachusetts Ave