853 Main St, Cambridge, MA | Directions 0213942.363459 -71.098709
Sun 11am-2pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm
Neighborhoods: Area IV
Creative Food and Excellent Customer Service – Made a reservation for Sunday night because Friday and Saturday nights on OpenTable were almost completely booked for a month. We were promptly seated and greeted by a friendly waiter. For appetizers, we ordered the pigs tail, which was phenomenal, and octopus, which was also pretty good. We both ordered the pork three ways, which was flavorful and savory, albeit extremely filling (the pigs belly cut is awesomely fatty)! Dessert was incredible--I think we had some sort of ice cream cake with salty bits of chocolate bacon?
So in summary, food, service, and ambiance were all great. The only thing holding keeping me from giving this place a 5 star rating was the wine, which was just above average but not incredible. Overall, highly recommended! Just be sure to go hungry...
Waited Forever While Staring At Empty Tables – Went to this restaurant for brunch and was asked to wait on the ramp for a couple spots to open up at the bar because all the tables were reserved. We waited for nearly an hour before finally getting two seats at the bar, and the bartender took forever with everything. Waited for ages to get the check, and once we finally got the check and left a credit card, we finally decided life was passing us by and that we'd just leave cash instead of waiting for her. So, we spent two hours in that restaurant for a meal that was pretty good, but what really set me off were the empty tables that were "reserved" the entire time we were there. The food wasn't worth it, nor was it worth the scowls on most of the staff's faces.
nothing better (burger review only) – Desperately trying to fit Craigie into my (not so) busy schedule before the end of the year, we finally made it over last night. If you haven't been, it truly is a spectacular space, open kitchen right when you walk in, well lit, and overall very appealing. We hustled to get there right when they opened at 5:30 pm to make sure we could grab a table at the bar area (the only place to get the burger) and were fortunate enough to be seated immediately. We've been delegated to eating in bar area's before (see the Met Bar) but have never been treated this well. In my experience the service in the bar is never as good as the main dining area, and in the case of Radius, the service overall was borderline arrogant and snobby despite eating in the main dining room. Craigie does not mess around, as the service, and everyone we interacted with, was impeccable, very attentive, and made it feel like a special night even if we were just eating burgers, again, the polar opposite of my Radius experience.
The burger was not like anything I've had all year, I wouldn't call it gourmet, but it's not your run-of-the-mill burger either. This felt special, I still can't say any burger is worth $18, but the effort is there. It's beefy, and unbelievably so, cooked to a perfect medium-rare, the cheddar fully melted and tangy, the house-made bun crispy and chewy all at the same time. The mace ketchup, again house-made, is nice, with a complementary sweetness to it, and there are so many different flavors going on, it's difficult to pick them all out. There is some serious Umami, with the miso flavor the true backbone of this burger, it really takes it to another level. It's easily the best tasting burger I've had in a while. It's not a perfect plate, however, as it comes with shoestring fries, which as I've written before are not my preference. I never know how to eat them, if you use your hands it's nearly impossible to dip in to ketchup, otherwise your using a fork to eat fries and feel like a fool. And there is some seasoning on the fries that I don't love, not quite spicy, but assertive, I much rather just see some regular fries. But unlike most shoestrings, these are fried perfectly and are utterly crispy. The fennel slaw on the side also adds a much needed refreshment component to the meal.
Craigie on Main easily delivers the beefiest, juiciest burger of the year, and although it's become a hot destination for burger lovers alike to come to, it's still a process. You need to come early to guarantee a seat, and for two burgers and one beer plus tip, it costs nearly $30 per person. We're talking burgers here, fundamentally, I still take issues with spending that much on a burger, but at least on this night, it was worth every penny.
the 10-course is overrated – this is going to be regarded as sacrilege. i went to dinner at craigie on main in november and had the 10-course tasting menu ($115). it cannot be said to be vastly-overpriced since the labour put into the food is clearly vast in quantity, and the nice new location and beautiful kitchen must be somehow paid for. yet, for my money, a tasting menu created under the direction of a chef should have coherence and structure. some will doubtless disagree that tasting menus have two purposes: 1) to allow the diner to try a range of preparations from the restaurant, more than would normally be possible, 2) to allow the chef the luxury (rare) of composing not only dishes in isolation from each other but dishes as components of a whole experience.
the dinner we had was abundant in quantity and rare ingredients and lavish in preparation but it was not coherent, at least not to me. win on 1, fail on 2. i give it 3 stars because it would be possible to compose an excellent meal there out of menu items (5 stars) but the thing i am reviewing (the 10-course tasting menu) is overpriced and fails to come through on one of its two deliverables (1 star, possibly).
(the bar at craigie on main, on the other hand, is a winner.)
Chef Tony Maws wields his local, seasonal and organic menus at this rustic, bustling, French-foodie favorite. – Craigie on Main is chef/owner Tony Maws' bigger, badder, bartended version of his previous Craigie Street Bistrot--the relocated bastion for nose-to-tail locavorism and a Cambridge foodie darling. The warm, wood-studded dining room is cozy and casual, host to inventive yet familiar dishes like Vermont organic lamb three ways or fricasee of country sausage, crispy pork jowls and cocks' combs. Any way a pig can be prepared, you'll find it here; all charcuterie is housemade. With an open kitchen and expansive bar, this is where lovers of food and drink can consummate their obsession without pretense.
Photo by Michael Piazza
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