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Craigie on Main vs. Troquet

HungryHomer Dec 30, 2011 10:27 PM

Coming to Boston for business and have one night for a later dinner (~8:30pm or so) on a Wednesday night and am looking for someplace with good food and great wine. I'll be staying in Cambridge, but don't mind taking a cab. After doing a bit of research, I've narrowed things down to either Craigie on Main or Troquet and would appreciate some advice. Thx!

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  1. 9
    9lives Dec 31, 2011 07:47 AM

    Got a coin?..:)

    You can't go wrong either way. I eat at Troquet more often; but it's based on geography.

    You'll have a great meal at either place. If you select Troquet, request a table with a view of the Common..

    1. c
      csammy Jan 3, 2012 07:41 AM

      You can't go wrong with either but if wine is a priority Troquet is hands down better. Craigie has a list of mostly esoteric wines that 99.9% of us have never heard of let alone should know the correct price of. I think that gives them license to over charge for there wine. Troquet on the other hand has great value although mostly on the higher end of the list.

      9 Replies
      1. re: csammy
        d
        DoubleMan Jan 3, 2012 08:05 AM

        I completely disagree. I think Craigie's wine list is superb and basically the average markup (3-4 times retail for the most part, though there are many in the 2-2.5 times range). I prefer to encounter new or hard-to-find wines when dining out, and I know lots of other people do as well. Craigie is perfect for that. Troquet has some of those wines, but for the most part I think they supply the classics.

        We may disagree about what makes a good wine list, but I don't think it's fair to say that one is objectively better. In the same vein, I think Central Bottle is a much better wine store than Marty's or Gordon's, but it all depends on what you are looking for.

        One thing I think is totally untrue, though, is that Craigie somehow uses more obscure wines to gouge customers.

        1. re: DoubleMan
          d
          dalecruse Jan 3, 2012 08:17 AM

          While Troquet's wine list does include many classics, only the by-the-glass wine menu is listed on the website. At the restaurant you'll find a fuller by-the-bottle wine list that barely scratches the surface of what's available. Consider that list the "greatest hits" of the cellar. If you're more in the mood for a "deep track" (to continue the music analogy) consider calling the restaurant ahead of time. I've seen some really remarkable bottles at Troquet, so it pays to ask.

          1. re: DoubleMan
            c
            csammy Jan 3, 2012 10:03 AM

            I am sorry but I feel 3-4 times retail is gouging the customer. I hope that your not suggesting that Craigie's wine list is better then Troquet's? Craigie's is not even in the same league, not only is Troquet's better then anything in the Boston area but better then most on the east coast.

            1. re: csammy
              d
              DoubleMan Jan 3, 2012 10:30 AM

              I don't like the markup either, but that's the average. I think Troquet is along those lines, too, except not at the very high end when the restaurant can make $50-100 on the bottle by charging only slightly more than retail.

              My favorite wine lists are the food-friendly, edited lists of which Craigie is an example. The large books with the greatest hits and lots of wines that need to be decanted for hours don't really interest me. If I am going to spend $50-80 on a bottle of wine, I'd prefer Craigie's list. If I had $500 to spend on wine, I'd definitely go with Troquet.

              1. re: DoubleMan
                d
                dalecruse Jan 3, 2012 10:40 AM

                Troquet has bottles to satisfy just about any budget, but as a customer (in fact, I'll be there tonight) it seems like the more to spend, the more you save.

                I have not yet dined at Craigie but it's high on my list to try. From what I've heard about it, I'm certain the original poster in this thread will have a great meal either way.

                1. re: dalecruse
                  c
                  cambridgedoctpr Jan 3, 2012 02:56 PM

                  i like and dine at both places.

                  If i am interested in the food, primarily, then i definitely want to go to Craigie. But my experience is that even the less expensive wine is a better deal at Troquet (and i am a big fan of Chris's selections) whereas wine is expensive at Craigie, and i do not share the taste of Mr. Maws and stay away from wine at Craigie.

                  i would like to add that gordon's has a much bigger selection. I like the Wine Cask in Somerville; Steve is very knoweldgeable.

                2. re: DoubleMan
                  c
                  csammy Jan 3, 2012 10:48 AM

                  I think 3-4 times is no longer average, I think 2 times is average and acceptable.
                  We definitely disagree, all I know is when I go to Craigie I order cocktails or beer but when I go Troquet I order wine.

                  1. re: csammy
                    StriperGuy Jan 3, 2012 11:27 AM

                    Totally agree that Troquet blows Craigie out of the water wine-wise. Food wise I would give the edge to Craigie.

                  2. re: DoubleMan
                    k
                    KevinJF Jan 5, 2012 09:08 AM

                    Many of Troquet's wine are below retail prices. I can give specific examples if you doubt me. This pricing is not limited to the summer cellar clear out special, which has prices way below retail.

            2. HungryHomer Jan 3, 2012 11:53 AM

              Thanks everyone for your feedback (and lively discussion of restaurant wine prices). I finally decided to go for Craigie on Main this time, largely because we'll be having a late dinner and I guessed that with the bar open till midnight, Craigie would be livelier later. Troquet is definitely on the list for next visit though! Cheers!

              2 Replies
              1. re: HungryHomer
                i
                Isolda Jan 3, 2012 12:04 PM

                You'll have a great meal at Craigie. My husband and I walked in one Sunday without a reservation, when the place was packed. We got seated at the bar and ended up having a fantastic meal with excellent, attentive service. Be sure to order the octopus--theirs is especially tender.

                1. re: HungryHomer
                  BobB Jan 6, 2012 09:06 AM

                  One aspect of the two that I didn't see pointed out yet - Craigie has a more lively atmosphere in general, with the open kitchen and all, while Troquet has a more formal, hushed feel to it. But I agree, you can't go wrong with either, they're two of our favorites in the area.

                2. c
                  cherrytomato Jan 7, 2012 08:22 AM

                  Craigie has great food , beverages and service. It has a fun and lively crowd. You can only get the craige burger at the bar but it is so delicious. It comes with a small dish that has homemade ketchup, celery root salad and sweet pickles that I am sure they make too. Last time I was there we lots of different appetizers and then we had burgers with duck fat fries. My favorite cocktail there is a drink called Northern light. It's fun to watch the bartenders mix drinks. They shake them really hard and they come out with a foam on top. Try the beet salad with crispy fried pigs ears. I love it there.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cherrytomato
                    barleywino Jan 7, 2012 10:00 AM

                    the pigs ear salad there is one of my favorites too

                  2. HungryHomer Jan 12, 2012 08:19 AM

                    Thanks again for the advice. My colleague and I had a fantastic experience at Craigie. We did the 6-course chef's tasting menu and thought it was all great. Highlights included the sea-scallop sashimi and the veal three-ways (cheek, sweetbreads & belly). Yum! We also had a lovely bottle of Nuits-saint-georges (with, I believe, about a 100% mark-up - to contribute to the other conversation going on in this thread). Staff was friendly and knowledgable. I would definitely go back.

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