With friends or with a significant other, you hopefully have a place in your city that you consider “your place.” I am talking, specifically, about an eating establishment. The place you go when you’ve had a miserable day and there’s no way you’re cooking a darn thing. The place you go on an impromptu Tuesday to spontaneously celebrate some minor victory. The place you can meet for a drink, or an appetizer, and you know what you’re going to get. The place is there for you.
For Tim and me, this place is Cambridge Common. (If you visit the website, beware the loud audio.) Not the park of the same name, but the Mass Ave restaurant/bar with thirty beers on tap (not Bud Light– think Allagash, Cambridge Brewing Company, Brooklyn Brewery).
There have been phases in the past few years when I ate at CC once a week. It has been the place for “friends moving away” dinners, book club night out, “someone’s got a new job” dinners. There was a day when I was thrown a surprise bridal shower at CC– and if you go there, you will be able to visualize how odd this is.
It struck me last night as I ate a Baja Turkey Burger with fries how funny (and comforting) it is that we can’t get enough of this place. They clearly focus their energy on the beer, and reading the menu of the day’s taps is always exciting. The food is decent– stick to what you’d expect to be good at a bar: burgers, nachos, things that can be fried. A couple unusual standouts are the Uncommon BLT (involving avocado), the fried pickles (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it), and the sweet potato fries. The service tends to be hit or miss, both in efficiency and in knowledgeability. Appetizers and drinks seem to take longer than necessary. And yet… I am always happy to be there, watching the game on one of their screens, sitting at the dark wooden tables, checking out which local artist they’re showing on the brick walls. It’s pretty much the only place I still eat french fries and nachos.
With the summer tables on the sidewalk, now is a great time to check out Cambridge Common– especially, especially, since the building next door (used to be an ATM and a car rental lot) is in the later stages of being renovated into dorms for Lesley University. I am concerned that the character of the place will change greatly when it becomes a dorm hub. Hopefully I am wrong.