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Apr 1, 2009 07:26 AM

Craigie on Main, Brunch

I was in Boston this past weekend and wanted to take my son, his wife, and two little ones to brunch on Sunday. I'm not usually a fan of brunch because they often seen to be buffet style. But Craigie has a menu of wonderful options, just like going to dinner!

We started off with three perfect cappuccinos, and fresh squeezed OJ for the children. Then two orders of their house-made donuts that don't go into the fryer until they're ordered. Wonderful!

The little girls each had a side order of lovely, fluffy scrambled eggs and sausage, with very healthful looking whole-grain toast. I had a bite of the toast; it was as good as it looked.

My choice was buttermilk biscuit and "country roux" gravy with a couple of sunny-side eggs, and what they call "Demanche" sausage. No idea what Demanche means, except, maybe, delicious. Inside the casing the meat was coarsely ground. Excellent flavor in this good sized sausage. The thin, brown roux napped the biscuit, with just enough left to mix with the egg yolks for satisfying dunking.

My son had Craigie's take on shrimp and grits, with a side order of sunny-side eggs. Swiss chard had been braised with bacon. His empty plate spoke for itself!

The next time around I'd order what my daughter-in-law had: "Grass-fed house-brined corned beef hash" with a perfect "slow"- poached egg. I had only a bite, but it was so, so good. The texture was perfect, with crunch and tenderness where it counted.

She and I each had a Bloody Mary for dessert! (No booze before noon on Sunday in Boston, it seems.} They're made with gin or vodka infused with vegetables or pepper. I opted for just plain gin. This is a Bloody Mary with lots of "stuff" floating in it. It's plenty spicy, lots of grated, fresh horse radish, and ginger, as well. I'll admit it took some getting used to, but it didn't take me long!

What a fine restaurant! Great server, a lovely woman at the door to welcome us in out of the rain, and the spectacle of watching the kitchen at work as soon as you walk in. It's a very orderly operation, that kitchen.

I'd pretty much ignored the prices as we ordered, since this was a special occasion. What a pleasant surprise to discover a more than reasonable total for all that food and drink. Next time, dinner!

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  1. What a fantastic review! I too am not one for brunch usually but I would make an exception for this place. Demanche is French for "Sunday", BTW.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JudyHP

      Thanks for the translation, Judy. How apt!

    2. Very useful review, thanks! I hadn't noticed Craigie was doing brunch.

      Prices (entrees $12-18) are a little on the high side, but I've paid slightly less in the South End for pretty dull food in miniscule portions; this menu looks as thoughtful and original as I'd expect from these folks. That potato galette looks suspiciously like the hash browns I've been dreaming of.

      Gotta wonder what kind of eye-openers Schlesinger-Guidelli is dreaming up.

      7 Replies
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        Looking at the menu I like the "sorry, no tomatoes until August!" for the burgers. As much as I love tomatoes, I admire their holding off serving them until they are in season.

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          I went to Craigie for brunch back in February and had a great time. We sat at the bar and enjoyed some delicious alcoholic concoctions, including a take on the mimosa that involved Campari and something called the "Italian Greyhound" which had Punt e Mas. And then there was the corned beef hash...and I asked for a little boudin noir on the side. Finished up with the hot chocolate spiked with green chartreuse. Very, very good all around.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            Where is the picture of the galette?

            1. re: Wursthof

              There's no photo. I should have said, "With wishful thinking, that potato galette reads like the hash browns I've been dreaming of."

              Many potato galette recipes call for them to be shredded, though sometimes they're sliced thin or diced. A galette made with shredded potatoes would be very much like the type of hash browns I crave at brunch and breakfast.


              1. re: MC Slim JB

                not quite the same thing, but....if you like that sort of crunchy/soft mix of textures, try the seafood pancake at Korea Garden in could probably even make a "breakfast" out of it by asking them to fry up some of their thin-sliced pork belly and top it with a fried egg and hot sauce (like bibimbop)

            2. re: MC Slim JB

              Actually now that you mention it, from the little that I skimmed your hash brown thread, I think the galette is indeed what you're looking for. I had their steak & eggs (forget exactly what it's called on the menu) w/ the galette and the whole thing was amazing. The greyhound was a nice add on for the brunch too.

            3. How old are the little ones. Is Craigie on Main friendly for an infant in a carseat? My wife and I have been wanting to try this place and brunch sounds like a good bet.

              1 Reply
              1. re: 492ma

                The children are 5 and 2. We were seated in the room off to the right as you enter. The 2 year old wanted a booster seat but I think they only have a high chair that pulls up to the table. They suggested the girls sit on the baquette, and that worked well. I'd suggest calling them. I'm willing to bet they'd do what they could to make everybody comfortable.

              2. Sounds like the brunch might be a better deal than dinner. I went recently for dinner and was somewhat disappointed. The food was a bit overrich for my tastes and, despite their using innovative ingredients, did not really involve particularly interesting flavors. Rather, the dishes I tried were dominated by fatty and salty tastes, with little to no balance with bright acidic flavors or spicy/sweet notes. (FYI the dishes were the grilled Spanish octopus appetizer, the farro/cockscomb/boudin noir risotto, the Vermont pork two ways, and a side of bone marrow. Of course it's unfair to say that bone marrow is too fatty when that's what it is by nature, so except the criticism for that dish.). Visually, the palette was quite brown. I'm not sure if it's just that I'm more of a southern Mediterranean cuisine person than a French-cuisine person, but I just didn't love the cooking style. It was clear they're using high quality ingredients and putting in a good deal of effort. I just didn't love what we ordered--the risotto was the weakest link, as the farro didn't come together with any of the same creaminess one expects of a risotto made with rice. I would like to go back and try some of the vegetarian dishes and seafood dishes, as well as trying the brunch.

                We also had a dessert of fruit crisp with prune-armagnac ice cream. The fruit was excellent (I detected rhubarb, which I love) but there was nothing crisp or distinctive about the topping. The ice cream was delicious, however, and I would have liked more of it!.

                3 Replies
                1. re: bella_sarda

                  I love Craigie, but I will be the first to agree that they are unequivocally pro-fat and -salt.

                  1. re: dfan

                    Don't get me wrong---I'm not anti-fat and I'm not anti-salt. I have gone on rants against anti-salt types and I can't stand going to dinner at a friend's place where they don't use any salt in their cooking and don't even offer a salt shaker. All I was asking for was a little bit of balance. There is such as thing as an optimal level of salty/fattiness. As I said, however, I think part of the trick is in composing a set of dishes in which balance is achieved in the aggregate, because you're not going to get balance within each dish here. That may be OK, it just means it's a little bit of work to navigate the menu, and our waiter did not offer tips on composition even when asked.

                    1. re: bella_sarda

                      Yep, I totally wasn't arguing with you - I was agreeing that they tend towards the fatty/salty end of the spectrum.

                2. My husband and parents took me out to C.O.M for a birthday brunch and I have to say I was a bit disappointed. Perhaps if there had been donuts it would have been another story...
                  I found the food quite heavy for brunch, with a bit too much fat and salt (you're right dfan) for my noontime taste. The OJ was amazing and the service was impeccable as usual, but I would have liked some lighter, fruit-based options. I think I might stick to Craigie for suppers...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: josied

                    they have a pineapple juniper cocktail currently which you might enjoy