|Kitchen On Common|
|Features - Chefs and Restaurants|
|Written by Michelle Collins|
Believe it or not, omnivores used to eat only what was in season – no one was eating strawberries in the dead of winter or lamb in the spring. Many of us have since become accustomed to eating food that’s out of season but readily available all year long thanks to the countries that export their food to us. How would we function if we had to live off of only seasonal produce and meat?
I can’t say how the average American would survive, but there is a restaurant in Belmont that’s making a living off nothing but local, seasonal food.
Kitchen on Common’s menu relies on what is available at local farms and markets, and changes with whatever fruits, vegetables, meats, and eggs are fresh and in season – sometimes with only a few days’ notice.
“I love the fact that when in season, I’m getting ingredients that were still in the ground only hours before I get my hands on them,” said Joh Kokubo, chef/owner of Kitchen on Common.
Kokubo,who resides in Lexington, opened Kitchen on Common a little over two and a half years ago, and decided on the Cushing Square location because he believed the area was the perfect location to house a small, community restaurant with a focus on local food. The restaurant is B.Y.O.B., but the food is grown right in Belmont’s backyard – the eatery’s website even boasts an entire page on why Kokubo serves only local food.
"I like buying directly from farmers and producers that I have had a chance to meet,” Kokubo said.
Kitchen on Common’s website puts it plainly: “Locally grown food simply tastes better." I, myself, have been to the restaurant on several occasions, and although the menu and restaurant itself is small, the options are various – and the quality of taste is incomparable. It’s also nice to know that your money is going to local farmers, the local community, and a restaurant that honors both.
“I get a lot of our produce from Waltham Fields Community Farm a couple miles away from here,” Kokubo said.
Locally grown beets tend to be the most popular item served at Kitchen on Common, no matter how they’re prepared. One of the first times I had dinner at Kitchen on Common, I got the Roasted Beet Salad ($5) with candied walnuts and Great Hill Blue Cheese (out of Marion, Mass.) – and that dish was the first time I actually enjoyed beets. Kokubo himself looks forward to the first spring greens of the season, marking the beginning of fresh produce for the restaurant as well as the farms growing it.
“I would encourage people to get out to any farmers’ market and see the quality of produce and talk to the people growing their food,” Kokubo said. “I think skeptics might find the farmers’ enthusiasm somewhat contagious.”
Lentil Soup with Cumin and Coriander ($5), and Farfalle with Roasted Mushrooms, Pecorino, and Roasted Garlic Cream ($12) are just a few of the items gracing Kitchen on Common’s current menu. The restaurant updates their online menu frequently to reflect what’s currently being served in the restaurant, so check back often for the most updated version.
Michelle Collins is a freelance food writer based out of Waltham, Massachusetts. She is a regular contributor to The Nashua Telegraph in Nashua, N.H., and her work has also been featured in Edible White Mountains and Parenting New Hampshire Magazines. Outside of print, Michelle also has her own money conscious food blog called The Economical Eater.