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Mar 27, 2013 06:17 PM

craigie on main for one person -- a la carte or tasting menu?

Coming to Boston for a trip and have a reservation at Craigie. I'll be by myself. Should I order a la carte or tasting? The tasting looks great but I am wondering if there are any must-haves that I'll miss by doing that. This is probably my one chance to go there.

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  1. i'd say tasting hands down. while there are some dishes that are better than others, nothing, to me, is so exemplary compared to the rest that the breadth and depth of Chef Maws that you'll see on display from a tasting would outweigh going a la carte. I imagine if board members have enticing recommendations, and you tell them its your one boston trip, you might be able to persuade them to put a bite of a specific dish on (i know they've constructed entire vegetarian, and i believe vegan, tastings before, so this hardly seems as much of an imposition)

    1. While I have enjoyed the tasting in the past, I haven't had it since he introduced the Crispy Fried Pig Tails as they are so frigging good, I have a hard time not getting them. Either way would be fine, though. Take a look at the menu, and if there is something that wows you, go for it, if not do the tasting. For non-tasting dishes, I always enjoy whatever egg/veggie/meat combo he's featuring (generally one on the menu), as well as the octopus, and Cod Cheeks (not always available). The menu changes frequently enough that I can't say anything else may or may not be there.

      1. Go for the tasting. There are certainly some great regular-menu dishes, but if you're going there once, you should get the full experience.

        1. You'll get better service if you do the tasting. I have had waiters there lose interest in our table of not doing the tasting or ordering supplements.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Gabatta

            If you're worried about not getting good service, sit at the bar. They generally have two bartenders these days for a 12-15 seat bar, and this is how we did the chef's whim 2 weeks ago. Also eating at the bar is one of the least awkward ways for solo diners to enjoy their meal.


            1. re: yarm

              Agreed, bar is the way to go. I haven't been there in awhile. Can you reserve seats specifically at the bar now, or is it 1st come? The service at tables in the bar is not the same as sitting at the actual bar.

              1. re: Gabatta

                As far as I know, sitting at the bar is still first come, first serve.

                1. re: Gabatta

                  Even if the bar is full, the wait isn't usually more than 20-30 minutes. Plus, as a single guests, there were times that I could just waltz right up to the bar on a Friday or Saturday night and fill in the space left due to a party of 3.

                  1. re: yarm

                    agree with the single thing, though i haven't had quite the same experience waiting for the bar on a fri/sat night earlyish in the evening- i've often walked in to find the entire aisle that connects to the bar filled with wait-ers- mind you, tha'ts not a bad experience, you can still order drinks as you stand in that little aisle, but i've waited more than an hour a couple of times to sit down at the bar and get food (but, again, this was primetime on friday/saturdays)

                    speaking of- does anyone know if they still do the bar 'whim'- 4 half drinks for $20, bartenders choice? i used to love getting that, but haven't tried in a while and don't see it on the website anymore.

                    1. re: valcfield

                      I've only eaten at the bar a handful of times, but every time, there has been a line outside the door before opening and just about everyone in line is headed for the bar as opposed to the dining room - the seats at the bar itself fill up almost instantly for the first seating. Granted, its been on a weekend night. Once I was towards the tail end of the line and sat at the end of the bar closest to the door - IIRC there are an odd number of seats, so maybe as a solo you'll get lucky. So if you can't make 5:15 or so to get in line, you may have to wait a bit. The tables in the bar area take a bit longer to fill up.

                      I've ordered al a carte and had excellent service .

            2. Usually sit at the bar and order a la carte. Did a tasting recently in the dining room. No discernible difference in service, though I suspect it simplifies things for a big party like ours was.