Thursday, January 31, 2013

Common Ground in Allston

Few restaurant owners are as passionate as Bob O'Guin, owner of Common Ground Bar and Grill in Allston. I recently attended a dinner at Common Ground, with the rest of the Boston Brunchers  (Dinnerers?), and I was really impressed with O'Guin's enthusiasm and obvious dedication to his restaurant.

I have to admit, before I walked into Common Ground, I didn't know what to expect. Several people told me that they remember the Common Ground being a dive bar and dance club, when they were in college. Thankfully, the atmosphere at Common Ground - at least on this particular Wednesday night - was nothing like a college dive bar. The dark wood walls were shining with cleanliness, and I immediately fell in love with the exposed brick wall behind the [also very clean] bar. The setting is very casual, but clearly fit for the older-than-college crowd.

Common Ground had prepared a tasting menu for us bloggers, but, per usual, my difficult vegetarian self caused Chef Jaime Suarez to create several veg-friendly dishes. I was really impressed at how no one on their staff flinched at the thought of having to come up with meatless dishes on the spot. Several bloggers in our group had other dietary restrictions, too, that were met with the same ease. Very hospitable!

After a few words from O'Guin, we dug into our first course, which was Sweet Potato Soup (soups range from $3-$7) topped with blue cheese crumbles and green onions.

The soup was wonderfully silky in texture, and I loved the combination of the tangy blue cheese with the sweet soup. The cheese definitely helped to make this a savory vs. overly sweet dish.

After the soup, my omnivore diners enjoyed Brisket Turnovers ($7) and Steak Salad ($10). I heard mixed reviews of the Brisket Turnovers, but since I didn't eat them, I can't tell you for sure. Regardless, I enjoyed a steak-less salad, made with mixed greens, pickled red onions, and feta cheese, served with grilled pita bread.

Unfortunately, there was a bit too much Green Goddess dressing on my salad - I actually had a hard time finishing it because of that. The description of the salad also promised cherry tomatoes, which were nonexistent (this was also the case on all but one salad at my table). 

Thankfully, the Three Grain Veggie Burger ($10) made me forget about the salad mishap. Common Ground's veggie burger is one of the best I've tried in/around the city, hands down (and I eat a lot of veggie burgers). 

Made with white beans, lentils, and chickpeas, this hearty burger was also topped with fresh tomato and cucumber fennel relish, as well as tarragon mayonnaise. The cool, creamy mayonnaise was the perfect complement to this crispy-on-the-outside burger, and I loved the hint of fennel seeds in each and every bite. The soft, airy burger bun was also ideal - it allowed me to actually taste the burger, while still providing a necessary "glue" to prevent everything from falling apart.

As a table, we also shared some Truffle Fries ($5), which are steak fries topped with truffle oil and Parmesan cheese. Pesto mayo was served on the side for dipping.

The fries were beautifully crispy on the outside, with a fluffy, piping hot interior (I wasn't patient enough to wait for them to cool down). I loved the thick curls of fresh Parmesan melting over the top of the fries, too. Seriously addicting.

To wash all of my food down, I enjoyed a glass of Southern Tier Old Man Winter Ale, which was the perfect brew to warm up with...considering it was -500 degrees outside at the time.

Dessert ended the meal with a bang: Chocolate Butterscotch Bread Pudding (desserts are typically $7).

Topped with housemade whipped cream, this was one decadent dessert. I loved the combination of the rich chocolate with the sweet butterscotch, and the fresh whipped cream just enveloped everything as it melted. 

Overall, our meal at Common Ground was a very successful one, and I will definitely return for dinner or brunch (which is served seven days a week) sometime soon. The accommodating staff, the dedication to quality food, and the passion in O'Guin alone all made this a restaurant I'd highly recommend visiting. 

Where did you recently have a great meal out?

Our food was complimentary, but, as always, the opinions expressed in this post are honest and 100 percent my own.

Common Ground on Urbanspoon


  1. I used to eat at Common Ground all the time when I lived in Brighton. Their food is excellent and they have a secret patio in the back. While I do love their veggie burger, the best veggie burger in Boston is hands down at Hillstone. You need to experience it!

    1. Ooooh, very good to know! I will have to try it. Thanks for the rec!

    2. Happy to go there with any time. I work right around the corner!

  2. Thanks so much for coming to our event and for your review. We appreciate your feedback and are glad that you enjoyed it!

  3. this meal looks pretty awesome overall. Glad the veggie burger was such a success!

  4. Oh, man... truffle fries! That's great that they were so accommodating.