Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Craigie on Main (Boston): Cocktails, Fried Pig's Tails

One of the best meals I had in Boston was at Craigie on Main. The James Beard Finalist's website reads like a list of food trends of the year: locavore, seasonal, sustainable, nose-to-tail. Though some have gotten jaded with these terms, the bottom line is the menu sounds, looks, smells, and tastes great.

Local Forest Mushroom, farm-fresh poached egg, herbs, flowers

Walking in the front door, you run right into the kitchen and you see all the actions immediately.

There are a lot of ordering options here from the seasonal tasting menu, the reasonably priced prix-fixe, the a la carte menu, or the bar menu. We ended up ordering a mix of the a la carte and bar menu.

Northern Lights cocktailSince Craigie was recommended to me by LushAngeles I knew their cocktails had to be at least pretty good. Well, the one drink I had was perfect and balanced:  

Northern Lights (St. Germain, scotch, citrus, Craigie Tiki bitters) - $11

If you hadn't noticed from the list of ingredients, yes, they make their own bitters (and infusions).

While Food and Wine and Bon Appetit magazines had nothing but praise for the burger here (either best burger or one of 25 best burgers in the country), I was not fortunate enough to try it on this visit. The waitress told us they didn't have burgers because it's not tomato season and they would only use local tomatoes. That's not strange considering the restaurant's "locavore" claim but it's strange to me that that would be the case when they also have (clearly imported) white asparagus on the menu. (They said tomatoes don't travel as well, may be true.)
Shrimp and White Asparagus
Grilled shrimp and white asparagus

We were happy with all the dishes we had that night. One of my favorites was the the earthy mushrooms pictured above, soaked in the yolk of the poached egg.

Grilled Spanish Octopus $18
grilled cipollini onions, fresh hearts of palm
Grilled Octopus
The texture of a nicely grilled, fresh octopus is perhaps one of my favorite. Tender yet chewy, with a slight charred flavor.

Crispy Fried Pig's Tails, pickled peanuts, nuoc cham, cilantro - $14

Fried Pig's Tail

Tender pig's tail, crispy fried edges, and the umami of fish sauce.

The dessert is a simple peach crisp (or is it crumble?) that was absolutely amazing. This was one of the best peach crisps I had in recent memory.
Peach Crisp

When we complimented the dessert, our waitress told us that it was actually her boyfriend's recipe. They both worked at Craigie at the time but were moving to Portland soon - best of luck to them!

Craigie on Main's seasonal tasting menu is certainly on my list for my next Boston trip, whenever that may be.
Here's my take home message: Come for dinner, stay for drinks.

Craigie on Main
853 Main St
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 497-5511
Craigie On Main on Urbanspoon


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