In an ordinary bar, magic
In a regular sequence, Cross Campus shares its preferences for eateries across campus new and worth noting. We take the time to keep up with openings, specials, seasonals and the best of the best so you don’t have to. The previous installment in this series covered Maison Mathis.
Nestled into the old Hotel Taft, Ordinary recreates the storied, established ambiance of its predecessor but maintains the humble charms of a local pub. On a typical night, the bartenders introduce themselves and pass around samples as the unassuming bar sets out to identify itself as the new hotspot for pairing drinks and cheese. With its fall menu just rolling in, XC peeked inside its darkened doors at 990 Chapel St. to bring you a curated selection of items to try in the coming weeks. (The Ordinary bar is 21+ only, IDs required.)
The Classic: Cheese boards, $14
Cheese — Caseus always gets it right and Ordinary, also a project of chef Jason Sobocinski, carries on the tradition. The hole-in-the-wall bar is a prolific international importer, bringing in new cheeses each week from various pockets of the world, including a regularly featured cheddar. Four cheeses come with each board. The platter also features superb jams, all made in-house from recipes tried and true to Caseus’ credit.
The Lunch: Butt Sandwich with Smoked Berkshire Pork
Ordinary is now open for lunch at 11:30 Wednesday through Saturday. This hearty sandwich eats like bar food but tastes like restaurant fare. Better than the Cheese Truck, better than your other pub, it’s phenomenal. There’s just enough grease to make it a perfect drink pairing and a measured helping of cheese that ensures taste. Mustard and house BBQ sauce are optional (but encouraged). Down with a beer for grilled cheese glory.
The Basics: Beer by the Yard, $10
Ordinary’s extraordinary beer list is about the length of your arm, with selections running the gamut from petite, local breweries to even smaller, more impossible-to-find brews from Europe. The ambitious bar has even claimed a few for their exclusive serving only. This maze of fine ales is decently-priced during their 5-7pm happy hour at $10.
The Splurge: “William, I Won’t Tell You”, $12
Ordinary’s relaxed nature may at times overshadows its elegant interior, leading you to forget that it’s the type of bar that serves this type of cocktail. A golden liquor is made magic by sweet, powerful bourbon in this more old-time drink — giving one a sense of being back in a golden age. Notes of cinnamon and ginger add surprise and spice, with dried apple for garnish. A strong potion however, to give fair warning.
The Tale of Two Cookies: Peanut Butter with Candied Bacon; Dark Chocolate Chip with Sea Salt Cookies, $7
Two roads diverged in a humble bar as the diner reached the end of her meal: chocolate or peanut butter? Ordinary has complicated this inevitable choice by improving on both classics — adding bacon to the peanut-butter selection and sea salt to the chocolate chip. Road less taken? Maybe, but XC’s recommendation is to order both.
Ordinary is located at 990 Chapel Street and is open after 5pm Mondays and Tuesdays, after 11:30am Wednesday through Saturdays with varying closing times.
Photography by Nick Defiesta.