Having grown up in Merrimack New Hampshire, I remember when the building that houses The Common Man Restaurant was the Hannah Jack’s Tavern, also known as “Hannah Jacks”. The old JC’s haunted house used to be right across the road from them too. This was back when there was no Burger King, and there was a big flea market on that property. I remember when Nickels Restaurant used to be up the road too, ah, the memories of old Merrimack. I’ve been to The Common Man Restaurant more then a few times since it opened. I was on the board of directors at the Merrimack Chamber of Commerce, so I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak at the establishment before they opened, what a beautiful place inside. The upstairs has so much character and life, I could see myself spending countless hours there, enjoying a few drinks and writing my movie scripts. Still to this day it maintains the charm of a Yankee homestead, it is hard not to feel like you are walking into a friend’s home with its wooden beams and ladder back chairs.
Tradition is a highlight of this restaurant. Each guest is offered a small dish of picked carrots, otherwise known as copper pennies. They are cooked, cool, and soft with a bit of crispness to them, and marinated in a pickling juice that is superb. I look forward to that little dish of carrots as well as the complimentary cheese and crakers too. What I like about The Common Man is I can count on the food always being amazing. I remember going on a first date following my divorce, well, the date didn’t go well, because I was far more interested in the food than my company. They served a polenta that was out of this world. Perhaps it is a flaw of mine, but no woman could ever hold my attention if great food is around. Perhaps I should try to marry a female chef? You know what they say, lucky in food, unlucky in love.
This past summer was my first introduction to their mussels, and it was such a wonderful introduction. Mussels is a simple dish to make, not overly complicated, and when done well is an incredible flavor. The key is to let the natural flavor of the mussel come through, not drown the flavors in to much cream.
The uncommon salad is by far my favorite, it is a light mix of greens with a balsamic dressing, chunks of blue cheese and candied hazelnuts. The hazelnuts are the highlight of the dish. In fact I think I get it just for the candied nuts, they are that amazing!
With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, I decided to go for the Ruben Panini, which is a hearty, delicious, classic Ruben served on a grilled bread with their homemade thick cut potato chips on the side. A classic, and well done sandwich, with lots of flavor in every bit. My lunch guest had the hearty lobster corn chowder, which did not disappoint. Wonderful flavor with tender chunks of lobster served on top.
For dessert we went with a traditional chocolate cake. A four tiered dark chocolate cake served “Ala mode” with a caramel sauce shooter. The caramel sauce, well, I could have enjoyed a bowl of this sauce as it was outstanding! The Common Man Restaurant in Merrimack is a rustic, traditional New England style restaurant serving home cooked meals. Whether lunch, dinner, or just drinks, its a place many of us have come to feel right at home at.