Thursday, December 20th, 2012 at 11:23 pm
Date Night: The Common and Holiday Lights and the Legislature
When The Common relocated to the larger storefront on 109 Street in the spring, they took advantage of the space by enhancing their food menu. Although it’s unlikely I would frequent The Common in its nightclub incarnation, as a restaurant, I had been wanting to check out the creative dishes put together by Chef Jesse Morrison-Gauthier for some time. Mack and I had dinner there last weekend on a chilly Saturday night.
It wasn’t terribly busy when we arrived, but it did fill up over the course of our meal. The Common is separated into three loosely divided rooms – one anchored with a bar, another with a DJ booth, and the dining space where we were seated. I loved the dining space – well lit, it felt like The Common didn’t have anything to hide. And on the contrary, it illuminated the feminine touches in the crispy black and white room: the wall of gilded frames and leaf-tipped gold light fixtures. It felt intimate, relaxed and sophisticated.
Similar to Mercer Tavern, we encountered a drinks menu that was split between vintage and modern cocktails. I tried the Negroni, which probably was better suited for Mack, but fared better with the sweeter blackberry cinnamon mojito.
Our happy hour
Looking at the menu rife with comforting dishes, it really was difficult to decide – no doubt, we will have to return at least a few times to try all of the items that caught our eye! We ended up sharing the mac & cheese ($8.50). The panko crust was crispy and well seasoned, and I liked the florets of cauliflower buried between noodles.
Mac & cheese
My chicken & waffles ($17) was a pretty satisfying dish. The chicken was excellent, fried hot, moist, and I loved the sweetness from the blackberry sauce. The waffles could have been a little warmer though, and I thought the goat cheese was unnecessary, and overpowered everything else.
Chicken & waffles
Mack’s lobster pot pie ($17) was deceiving in size, as by the end, he was struggling to finish the serving. There was a fair amount of lobster, and Mack commented on the depth of seafood flavour in the filling. Mack also loved the side of tomato turkey soup, too cute presented in a mason jar.
Lobster pot pie
Service was excellent (with a surprisingly good ratio of servers to tables for a restaurant/nightclub), and we felt well taken care of the entire night. With an interesting menu, good execution, and a laid back atmosphere, The Common is another one of downtown’s dining destinations. We will be back!
Afterwards, we grabbed a hot drink from the nearby Starbucks and wandered over to the Legislature grounds. It’s been a holiday tradition for Mack and I over the past few years to take in the beautifully decorated grounds.
It was a chilly night, so we were grateful that the indoor visitor areas were still open so we could warm up. Mack was a good sport and posted in the Speaker’s chair in the mock government set-up next to the gift shop.
Playing the Speaker
On our way home, we made our way through the bedazzled trees once again, losing ourselves in the Christmas music piped through the outdoor speakers. Although the nightly holiday musical performances wrap up on December 23, the lights will be up until early January. Make sure to check them out if you can!
9910 109 Street