Let me start by saying that this was one of the most interesting/delicious/impressive/fun dining adventures I have EVER been on. This was my second visit to Craigie on Main, the contemporary French restaurant formerly known as Craigie Street Bistro (before moving to its new location at 853 Main Street, Cambridge). My first visit ended quite abruptly when Meesh and I were denied without a reservation last week, in the nicest possible way of course, while the hostess offered us complementary drink vouchers to use on our next return. On that particular Friday night, which I’m sure is just like any other, Craigie was slammed: the dining room, the bar area and every inch of standing room was packed with diners, drinkers, and those eager to be seated. As we realized dining there would NOT be an option that evening, I left feeling a little defeated and jealous of everyone who was already inside and eating. As soon as I got home I coerced my boyfriend into making a reservation for the following Friday. Success!
Within no time a week flew by and it was Friday again. Yess! Upon arriving to Craigie, we were greeted by the same hostess, except this time we were immediately ushered into the bar area after giving the name on our reservation. Before long a bartender came by with our cocktails and a few minutes later our table was ready and we were seated.
Next enters Chuck, our beyond knowledgable server who was about to give us the low down on how Craigie operates. You see Craigie isn’t JUST a restaurant, its the Top Chef of restaurants. The menu is constantly changing with the seasons best ingredients, and in order to get the best dining experience possible they offer a slew of different pre-fixe menus, dishes for two, and a la carte options to cover all of your dining needs.
One option is to go for a 6 or 10 course pre-fixe. The price is $90 and $115 respectively, which essentially gets you smaller portions of whatever the chef feels inclined to cooked. Nothing is off limits (unless you have an allergy or dietary restriction of course) and you pretty much leave your meal in the hands of Chef Tony Maws who will prepare whatever he see’s fit, think frog legs, lamb heart, beef tongue, etc. At first glance several things on the seasonal tasting menu jumped out at me, and unsure of how adventurous we felt, decided to go a la carte.
For starters we tried the Ragoût of Forest Mushrooms, Boudin Noir, and Veal Sausage served with farro verde, farm-fresh poached egg, sorrel coulis, herbs and flowers. Wow! what a mouth full…literally. Try saying that five times fast. I have to admit it wasn’t the most attractive, or photogenic, of dishes but don’t let that deter you from how amazing it was. The flavors were perfect and I really liked the mix of egg, mushroom, and sausage. Nom.
We also ordered the Salad of Hiramasa Sashimi which came with green tomato-red onion salsa, avocado and lemon-caper vinaigrette. Also delicious, it was crisp and light and perfect!
For entree’s we shared the Hanger Steak a la Poele with oxtail ragoût, tatsoi, glazed shallots and tsimmes (which I had no idea were dried fruit, they added a nice sweetness to the dish)…
…and the Onion-Smothered Vermont Organic Chicken Two Ways, which came with a Roasted Breast and a Crispy Thigh Confit. The chicken was served with three bean ragoût, radish greens and natural jus. Amazeballs!!
Chuck told us we had to order the Squash because it was “the best squash you’ll ever have in your entire life.” So we did…and it was. With just a touch of garlic and oil, nothing else, it was delicious!
And because there’s (almost) always room for dessert we ordered the Sheep’s Milk Yogurt Cheesecake with boysenberry jam and pistachios.
…Which I might have to say was probably the best cheesecake I’ve had to date. Everything was perfect and the wait staff was beyond attentive. I don’t think we ran out of bread/water/silverware/wine EVER! They also have specially reserved “ring side” seats which let you watch the chef’s prepare food first-hand while you wine and dine just inches away (which I’ll definitely have to try out soon!) From their casual bar food to the 10 course tastings, their light lunch menu and their famed brunches, Craigie is perfect for any occasion…so long as you don’t mind spending some dough…but it’s WELL worth it!