We were recently invited up to Salem to dine at Naumkeag Ordinary, a place we'd never heard of but that never stopped us from checking out a newer dining venue before. The restaurant has a warm, upscale, tavern-like feel and seemed to be filled with locals enjoying a craft beer and some inventive comfort food featuring new twists on old favorites. It's the kind of place one would make a regular spot for dining. Set just off a small patch of green space in the very heart of Salem, it was a great, casual yet refined dining experience.
We began with the Lettuce Wrap (above) With Duck, a fresh, flavorful bite that was a great starter to our dinner. Crispy duck and fresh, soft lettuce leaves worked well together as a great contrast.
The Meat And Cheese Board was not a disappointment, either. Fennel Sausage, Pepper Jam, Grilled Bread and House Made Mustard was a bright sampling of many flavors, textures and colors.
The mild goat cheese in this crispy phyllo dough wrapping was another great appetizer, the crispy texture of the wrap perfectly done.
Roasted Stuffed Acorn Squash: Barley risotto, roasted root vegetables and a meyer lemon and black pepper vinaigrette. Hearty and flavorful and a nice vegetarian choice, for a change of pace. The lattice chips and greens were the perfect addition to this filling, very satisfying plate.
I went with a special of the day: Sloppy Joe Tacos. It was warm and meaty with pickled banana peppers and crispy onion strings, bursting with comforting taste. It was a pleasant surprise to enjoy a Sloppy Joe without the heavy, filling bun.
Dessert was Bread Pudding, a rich, eggy take on this standard served with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. Delicious.
Starters range from $8-13 (for the Meat and Cheese Board) and Entrees are $15 to $22 (A Short Rib Pappardelle Au Poivre). Everything on the menu looked very tempting so we can't wait to get back and try more. The craft beer selection and wines by the glass offered enough to satisfy any diner. The menu changes often under the helm of new chef Scott Jensen and owner Matthew Brady with a focus on locally-sourced, sustainable ingredients and all dishes are made from scratch. The service was excellent. If you haven't been up to Salem in a while we say it's certainly worth the trip to spend some time there and enjoy Naumkeag Ordinary when you do. It was a great discovery for us.
118 Washington Street
Salem, MA 01970