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Apr 30, 2009 05:29 AM

Craigie on Main - Cocktails

Had a great time last night at the bar at Craigie, sharing small plates and some fantastic drink-making from Tom. Eats were grilled shrimp with some sort of yogurt foam sauce that tasted a bit like curry (yum), mussels, and the roast chicken. We drank our way through the whiskey dept; my highlight, which was the best drink I've had this year was a bourbon, cynar, and walnut liquor cocktail in a glass rinsed in mezcal and then flamed.

I love that most of the drinks at Craigie are only $10, though I hate that I always end up having more of them then I think...

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  1. I had an amazing cocktail the last time I was there, the Northern Lights, listed as containing Scotch, citrus, and bitters.

    I was trying to describe this to a friend, who said, "So did it taste like Scotch? Like citrus? Or did it all come together to create a synergy of indescribable deliciousness?"

    The last one. :)

    I have to say, though, we also had the Chef's Whim and it was the first time I have ever found it underwhelming. Maybe we've just done it too many times. I correctly predicted every course -- fish cheeks, check; spring pea puree with hog jowl croutons, check; pork entree, check (slabs of belly and a deep-fried foot). We've done this about once every 6 months for the past several years, and it turns out the "whim" doesn't actually vary that much. This time I found it all a little rich and salty, too. Maybe I'm getting old.

    It was my first time in the new place and I miss the quiet, intimate feel of the old place, but I will DEFINITELY be back for the cocktails. Probably not for the Chef's Whim again any time soon.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Pia

      i think the Northern lights also has St Germain and juniper...try Tom's flaming tiki drink next time

      1. re: barleywino

        what goes into that? i've been on a real tiki kick lately due to that event at ESK

        1. re: jgg13

          not sure whether Tom would appreciate my publishing the full recipe (which he might be willing to give you though), but among other things it has lots of Angostura bitters, a couple rums, his pineapple infused brandy, plus about 6 other ingredients. It's da Bomb...

          1. re: barleywino

            A sparkle of cinnamon and fresh nutmeg at the end, too! A delicious and very potent drink.

            1. re: barleywino

              No problemo, I was just looking to get a general idea of the drink :)

              Now, I just need to find the time ...

              1. re: jgg13

                among other things, he does another flamed drink w/ tequila which you should ask him about, too

        2. re: Pia

          Pia---I have the same issue with Tony Maws' cooking. He is way into the fatty/salty taste and does not seem interested in trying to balance it with bright flavors. I appreciate the quality of the ingredients and technique, but the style of cooking is not my favorite, aside from the veggie dishes.

        3. Had cocktails there last night. Nice Manhattan. My Aviation was WAY too sweet, almost undrinkably so.

          Had the pigs tail app which was yummy and a decent portion.

          The Spanish Octopus app however was miniscule and insultingly so for $18. When it came out my reaction was seriously "you're joking" though I said nothing.

          Honestly the Octo at Rendezvous is way better, bigger, and 1/3 less expensive.

          7 Replies
          1. re: StriperGuy

            Wow, Striper - I was there last night too - I thought the Octo app was huge ! We received one entire long tentacle and the base of the tentacle too - in all it yielded maybe 40-50 1/4 inch slices? It seemed like a lot - good enough for 2 to share - sorry you got short-changed.

            The pig tail app did not even register on my radar - was it on the menu?

            Had the Northern Lights - yummy, but I like my drink stronger. Would have really preferred to taste the fir tree too - no biggie.

            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              Hmmmm, don't know when you got there, I was there early, you must have gotten all the octo. There was barely a single bite each for three of us. I was pissed.

              1. re: StriperGuy

                We sat down at 8pm - a single bite was the opposite of our serving - so odd! I don't blame you for being pissed - totally should have said something.

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  I really don't like fussing in a restaurant, if they don't get it right it's their problem.

                  Also just a fundamental belief that you don't want to piss off someone who is preparing your food ;-).

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    I had the octopus app a few weeks ago and I also found the portion to be quite generous. I am a strong believer in communicating with the servers about one's level of satisfaction, in a civilized manner, of course. You don't have to piss them off to do it.

              2. re: Bob Dobalina

                I have it on good authority that the pig tail app is deeeeelicious.

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  Interesting! We were there last week and had a huge portion. Absolutely delicious-- very tender / not at all rubbery.

              3. The bar at COM is a real gem, especially Tom - we tried the 6-course tasting menu there Friday night and he paired cocktails/mocktails with it - for our palates, the cocktails really outshined the food - they were perfect and truly inspired from start to finish.

                The food was technically flawless and very beautiful to look at served in reasonable portions, but every course was too complex with so many flavors/layers not always balanced IMHO ... as a result, nothing really "popped" or was memorable - though I did appreciate my first fresh soft shell of the season and we enjoyed combining the peanut butter parfait and chocolate olive oil mousse desserts into something even better!.

                We will very definitely be back for many more cocktails, but most likely head elsewhere for our $80 pp meals - I do want to try the mussels, burger, and bone marrow in the bar on a future visit.