A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip into the bitter cold to check out the new bistro menu at Common Ground in Allston. I went to BU as an undergrad, and at that time, Common Ground was really nothing more than an average neighborhood bar. Since Bob O’Guin took ownership, it seems things just keep improving! Over the summer, I had a chance to sit out on their back patio, and enjoyed a really tasty summer menu. It was a fun little escape in the city that I loved to discover. Last week’s experience was another good one – we tried a good variety of menu items, all made in-house, and I was pleased to find myself enjoying each and every bite.
The menu seemed a bit daunting at first – I arrived starving, but couldn’t imagine fitting all of these goodies into one meal! Fortunately, they served perfectly sized portions, which allowed me to enjoy bites of everything without leaving too completely stuffed. No one had to roll me out the door, so I consider that a success!
The meal started with Sweet Potato Soup topped with blue cheese crumbles. The soup was creamy and sweet, and silky smooth, with a wonderfully thick texture. Given the temperature outside, this was the perfect way to start a meal, and it warmed me right up.
Shortly after I’d polished off my soup, this Steak Salad came, which featured seared steak tips served over mixed greens, topped with cherry tomatoes, pickled red onions, feta cheese and a slice of grilled pita. That was all tossed with a green goddess dressing, which was very flavorful, though a bit on the heavy side. I seemed to be missing my cherry tomatoes which was a bit of a bummer, but I enjoyed the rest of the salad, and the perfectly cooked steak pieces.
Next up were the Handmade Brisket Turnovers with slow braised beef brisket and cheddar cheese, and those were served with house made marinara sauce. The brisket inside was really tender and flavorful, and I loved the house made marinara. I thought that the turnover dough could have been a bit more tender and flaky, which would have really enhanced the whole dish. Served at the same time as the turnovers was a Turkey Burger with cranberry mayo and bacon, and that was one of my favorite things we tried. The burger itself was moist and tasty, and the turkey bacon complemented it nicely. This is a beef-free burger, but it certainly wasn’t lacking in flavor! The mayo added a bit of creaminess, which I liked – even though I’m not a big mayo eater. It’s worth noting that the burger bun was also pretty much perfect – just dense enough, but not so doughy that it completely overwhelmed the burger. I like it when a place does the bun right, because a bad bun can totally ruin a burger for me.
I anxiously awaited the arrival of the truffle fries – one of my all-time favorite menu offerings no matter what restaurant I’m in – and was excited to try them steak-fry style. The Common Ground truffle fries were of course flavored with truffle oil and parmesan cheese, and served with pesto mayo. The fries were just past al dente, but well seasoned, and I wished I could have had a whole plateful to myself.
The last savory offering on the menu was the Drunk Pork, a Guinnes braised pork belly with fresh fruit salad, tossed in a lemon honey sauce. This is a dish Bob said they are considering adding to the menu, so it was fun to get a sneak peak. I thought this was good – not my favorite, but I’m not always partial to pork belly (too much fat!). The flavor was good, but it was a bit tough. I liked it paired with the fruit salad though – creative touch.
To round out the meal, we had mini Chocolate Butterscotch Bread Puddings topped with house made whipped cream. I love bread pudding, and this did not disappoint. It wasn’t too sweet, and had a good chocolate flavor. A fitting finish to a tasty meal!
Thanks to Boston Brunchers and Common Ground for hosting! This evening added a much needed bright spot to an otherwise cold and gloomy week.
Disclaimer: This meal was provided to me free of charge by Boston Brunchers. As usual, all opinions expressed here are my own.