Monday, August 5, 2013

The Naumkeag Ordinary - a Trip to Salem, Massachusetts

When you see friends' dreams come true, it is always something exciting.  This is definitely the case when it comes to Naumkeag Ordinary. After working as the GM at CoDa for a number of years, our friend Matt Brady and chef Dan Bitler took their culinary skills to Salem to open their own restaurant, which as most of you know is no easy task!  After a couple of months renovating the space of a former Polish restaurant, Matt and Dan opened Naumkeag Ordinary, which specializes in local cuisine and seasonal influences.  The bar has a rotation of beers on tap that can change daily depending on what the locals favor.  One beer was gone within the day after word got out that Naumkeag had it on tap!

Deviled Eggs
To give some context behind the restaurant's name: "Naumkeag" is the name of the native American tribe that originally lived in Salem and the name that was originally used for the town, and an "Ordinary" is a colonial term for a tavern.  The name harkens back to the history that Salem is so famous for (when you're there, you can see some cool historical photographs, including those of a baseball team with "Naumkeag" across their uniforms!)

After a couple of weeks without time to head to the North Shore, our friend Michelle kindly drove Nick and I AND Arthur to Salem to finally experience the restaurant in person.  Naumkeag opened for brunch quickly, so taking advantage of a sunny Sunday afternoon, we grabbed a great table on the welcoming patio with Arthur the dog in tow and looked over the menu.  Almost immediately we ordered the deviled eggs, which were topped with bacon and pesto, adding a deliciously salty crunch and an herby bite.

Pate, pork belly and prosciutto
Next, Matt brought out a charcuterie board that he whipped together in about 2 minutes that was spectacular. The mix of meats, pickled veggies and mustard all on toasted bread was beautiful and delicious. The pate is made on site and so flavorful - even non pate eaters should give this a go. For me, the vinegar-rich grainy mustard was the perfect topper - I think I used my fingers when all the bread was eaten.

When it came time for entrees we decided to stick to the breakfast items. Michelle got the goat cheese and spring vegetable omelet, with a side of home fries and an English muffin.  Sometimes there is nothing better than a perfectly cooked omelet - goat cheese just only adds that little bit of something to make it more special.

Nick had the French Toast that was coated with pecans, making this one of my favorite crunchy French Toasts. The pecans added a buttery, nutty texture that rice krispies or corn flakes cannot achieve.  They were the perfect warm, golden brown that honestly gave me plate envy!

Crunchy French Toast
I went with the Sweet Potato and Duck Hash, which was delicious. Unfortunately I photographed this dish without highlighting the star of the plate - the hash!  With two eggs cooked over easy, there was plenty of good things happening on this plate.  The eggs were over easy so that you could break the yolk and mix it into the hash, which was so yummy.  The sweet potatoes were nice and rich and the duck was flavorful - every bite came together well.  The hash itself and the home fries served on the side had a nice sear to them, which is something I look for in brunch plates.  While I initially had plate envy of Nick, it did not last long.

Bad Blogger Photo of Sweet Potato and Duck Hash
After eating, we hung around on the patio for a bit longer and chatted with Matt and his wife while enjoying a couple of beverages. With a beer and drink list like Naumkeag's, it is easy to do.  I was super excited to see they had Downeast Cider and Nick's favorite, 21st Amendment's Hell or High Watermelon.  In addition, Nick got a Dirty Pickle, which was a spicy sriracha drink with homemade pickles, which could have just been over the top but instead was balanced and utterly enjoyable.

Another great benefit to us was the dog-friendly patio. Since Arthur suffers from massive separation anxiety, we are seeking out pet-friendly establishments. Naumkeag not only let Arthur sit right at our table, they were sure to bring out water in a little bowl to make sure he was content during our brunch!

Arthur Brunching
Naumkeag quickly became a favorite among the locals in Salem for its inventive food and amazing beer list, but with a location right behind the Bewitched Statue on a lovely grassy square, it catches the tourists as well. Whether you are spending the day in Salem or headed there for a night our, Naumkeag should definitely be on your list of places to visit.  I can't wait to head back to check out dinner!

The Naumkeag Ordinary on Urbanspoon


  1. That charcuterie looks amazing! I'll keep this place in mind next time we're in Salem!

  2. I've been a big fan of Coda for years, so we'll certainly check this place out, especially since it is so easy (and fun) to get to Salem by high speed ferry from our house downtown.

  3. Awesome pics!! I want that entire charcuterie board. I'll definitely keep this in mind if I go to Salem!

  4. Oooh, I will have to check this place out! I <3 Salem.

  5. oh wow, i'm drooling :) looks amazing!

  6. so good to know about this new spot. everything looks really good. lovely photos!

  7. I love day trips to Salem. This place looks great!

  8. I am a big fan of dog friendly places too - will have to check this place out. Also love that your brunch included french toast, devilied eggs and beer. A little something for everyone!


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