Craigie on Main 10 course tasting review (Long)
One word: fantastic.
The service, the food, everything! It should be noted that I did not have trouble making the reservation over the phone or asking/receiving a quick list of the entrees the same day. We were there 7/7/2010. Now, to the food!
After much debate among the four of us, we settled on the tasting menu. They were flexible and worked with the small requests we had ( 1. no crustaceans 2. that the octopus and lamb looked fantastic, and if they could be worked in, fantastic. if not, cool).
1. Three Seafood Preparations:
-squid noodles. nuac chum
-house-smoked Sockeye Salmon, dijon-miso vinaigrette
-rillettes of house-smoked Bluefish, paddle fish caviar
The noodles were unusual-cool, a bit of a chew, and a delicate flavour.
2. Ceviche of Line-Caught Fluke
-lemon oil, sweet dried corn
Lovely- the lemon oil made this fresh and light
3. Crispy Tempura Dayboat Cod Cheeks
salsa verde, golden raisin-ver jussauce, curry oil
Tasty, well fried- might be a little sweet for some, especially early on.
4. Grilled Spanish Octopus
grilled cipollini onion,fresh hearts of palm and lemon salad, garbanzo bean puree
Octopus can be tricky and this was really tender.
5. House-Made Rabbit and Guanciale Agnelotti
mustard -sage jus
The rabbit stood out. Less the Guanciale, though the jus was mopped up with the ample chewy bread.
6. Slow Roasted Veal Sweetbreads
sen pa sat, smoked cinnamon, kohlrabi purée
We'd never had sen pa sat- for those that love dark greens, it was really good. One DC didn't care for the puree (too much of a bite with the sweetbreads), but others loved it.
7. Elysian Fields Lamb Three Ways:
Spice-Crusted Loin, Grilled Tongue, Confit Breast
navarin vegetables, sweet garlic purée
Fantastic. Cooked to MR, and my favourite part of the dish.
8. House-Made Sorbets
Strawberry, Blackberry, Raspberry, Plum
One to each of us- a nice, light palate cleanser.
9. Sheep’s Milk Yogurt Cheesecake
Matzo meal-pine nut crust, blackberry-tequila jam
Sour Milk Panna Cotta
coriander-cashew granola, banana puree. brown butter
espresso ice cream, hazelnuts
Creamy Anson Mills Corn Grits
demerara brulée, anise-hyssop ice cream, warm raspberry compote
One to each of us.The panna cotta was the best one, followed by the corn grits. None were terribly sweet, but we liked that as a group. I found the ice cream a touch grainy, but others didn't mind it.
10. Rhubarb and Hibiscus Mousse
Nice, light fruity finish.
I have to commend the bar on creating both excellent cocktails and "mocktails". The mocktail had hibiscus and rhubarb syrup in it and was well balanced and flavoured. Tony presented the lamb three ways himself, and, as it was a birthday, there was a little card signed by him on the table. Pricey? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.
Craigie on Main
853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
While I would certainly let them know if I were thinking of the ten course, I have usually gotten the six course without their prior knowledge and never had an issue. Since neither my wife nor I has dietary issues, this has always worked for us (though my wife will ask that they not serve her cocks comb anymore!). Craigie's bartenders do an amazing job of pairing cocktails and food!
Craigie doesn't do a wine pairing with the six or ten course tastings (unfortunate). I either ask them to pair a wine they have by the glass (which they will do), or have the bar folks pair cocktails (great if you don't need to drive later!). I believe the ten course tasting is $115 pp, but cubbie can correct me i I'm wrong.
I see. I've had some nice cocktail/food pairings (of the sort where you ask the server to tell the bartender what you're having and think of something good), and they usually work out. I've only tried it at places that I"d trust to pull this off (CoM being one of them) ... I think that they're smart enough to to send back straight whiskey for instance. :)
I enjoy pairings in general, my favorite being beer. I'm not much of a wine guy, so the intricacies can be a bit wasted on me, although it's still fun to see how well the pairings work.