If you bump into Keith, do me a favor: ask him what his favorite Boston meal was of 2008. If he doesn’t say the dinner we had at Craigie Street Bistrot over the summer, I’ll buy you a drink. It doesn’t count if you ask him after he’s read this, by the way.
In all seriousness, the meal was so fantastic that we’ve both been thinking of reasons to get back to the restaurant. We knew Craigie was relocating out of its Harvard Square neighborhood and into Central Square; we wanted to wait and check out the new space. Also, we had read about the the new bar and its late night menu (available until midnight) so we headed into Cambridge to check it out.
Before I get into the food, a quick note about the aesthetics: the new Craigie, which is now known as Craigie on Main, has a definitively more modern décor than its previous incarnation’s outdated eighties look. The walls are a soft taupey gray, and the bright kitchen is amongst the first things diners see upon entering. I can’t wait to go back and eat in the dining room; I’ll specifically ask for the seats overlooking the shiny surfaces and glossy counters of the kitchen.
I was a little nervous about the galette, as the menu described it as being finished with a horseradish cream — I didn’t want to order anything that was going to send needles up into my sinuses. After I was reassured of the cream’s mildness, I immediately daubed a bit of it onto a bite of galette; the horseradish was very subtle, lending a faint zing to the mellow potato, crispy bacon, chives and salmon roe ($7.00). It was a great dish, something like a grown-up latke.
The mussels, with their toasted garlic and dashes of miso, were nice ($12.00) but not nearly as mind-blowing as the pigs’ tails ($9.00). Braised in red wine and topped with skinny, crunchy onion rings, it was incredibly tender and flavorful. The meat was most certainly at the perfect falling-off-the-bone doneness, and shot through with the perfect amount of fattiness. The menu changes frequently at Craigie’s regardless as whether you eat in the restaurant or at the bar; if the pigs’ tails are available, you don’t want to miss them.
A note: If you drop into the bar at Craigie on Main, do be prepared to stand in the bar’s entrance until a seat is available, unless you arrive extremely early. We walked in after ten and while we were able to have a drink while you wait — water for me, the designated driver, and an Arak Toddy for Keith (Fennel Seed, Citrus, Bittermens Pepper Cake Bitters, $10.00).
Craigie On Main
853 Main Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139