You know that person’s house you always hope to get invited to for dinner? Their home is elaborate and stunning, yet cozy and warm. You never know what exotic meal they’ll serve for dinner; all you know is each bite will be phenomenal and completely show the hosts’ passion for food. It’s a place where without even noticing, your wine and water glass stay full throughout the evening and in the blink of an eye, an entire evening passes. Oh, and each time you visit, you will never be served the same thing twice.
Now, pair that with a restaurant that uses only local, natural, ingredients and can tell you which farm every food on your plate came from.
Pretty impressive, right? Welcome to Craigie on Main.
Located on Main Street in Cambridge, MA., Craigie on Main is truly a dining experience unlike any other. Since I moved to Boston several years ago, multiple people have told me I needed to eat here. When I recently was notified that I would be able to feast at their table as a part of the Foodbuzz 24×24 program, I was beyond ecstatic!
Immediately upon entering Craigie on Main their entire kitchen is in site. It’s in the middle of the restaurant and can be seen from any table. There are even stools right at the kitchen so you can literally watch your entire meal being prepared and watch the chefs in action.
Half of the restaurant is a bar that is seated first come first serve (and filled up minutes within the doors opening!).
As we were seated by our friendly, patient and informative server, we were given their menu that changes daily. The front cover shows what fresh produce they received this week. As noted in their beliefs statement “First we find the ingredients, then we create the menu….it reflects our belief that no recipe is worth preparing with less-than-perfect ingredients.”
The menu offers a 6-Course or 8-Course Seasonal Tasting Menu, a Prix Fixe Menu or the option to order A la Carte. To ensure getting the full Craigie on Main experience, we opted for the 6-Course “Craigie Experience” Tasting Menu.
This means: No descriptions to read about the dishes. No way to even predict what you will eat. No possible way of requesting substitutions.
Our server asked us two very important questions, “Do you have any food allergies?” (No) and “Is there anything you’re opposed to trying?” (Nope) We let her know we typically prefer seafood to meat, and with that little information we sat back in our chairs with a glass of red wine and awaited to taste whatever foods they chose to prepare.
I have never been to a restaurant where I have completely trusted the chef and been willing to eat anything they bring, but after reading all about the Craigie on Main practices I could not have felt more comfortable trying anything they served, completely knowing they would only be serving the absolute best to all of their customers. Their food is mostly bought from small independent farms where they can literally trace it back to the farmer who grew it; they make everything from scratch, buy their food locally, try to use the whole animal, fish, or vegetable, and compost what they can. Knowing that, I knew I was in good hands.
Onto the food, after our wine was poured, we were given a basket of freshly baked bread…
Course One: A trio of smoked salmon, sardines with pickled cauliflower and bluefish served with a rice cracker. This was the first time I knowingly ate sardines and loved them! Now, if only they could be prepared this way every time I eat them .
Course Two: Sashimi Scallops with Ginger and a Citrus Gel served with Tempura Scallop Roes. This was definitely the most exotic thing I’ve ever eaten! I loved the vibrant ginger flavors contrasting the light, mild scallops.
Course Three: Soft Shell Crab with a Mango Salsa and Avocado Puree. This was the dish that stole the show for me; from its beautiful presentation to the fruity flavors with a hint of spice, this dish not only danced on the plate, but also upon my tastebuds.
Course Four: Asparagus atop Mushrooms with Egg and Asparagus Foam. I never even knew you could make foam from asparagus! Again, I am just floored how they take simple ingredients and truly make something so unique.
Course Five: Wild King Salmon atop Beet Salad with Pine Nuts and Spices. At this point I was starting to feel full but could not let a single beet remain on my plate. I loved the mixture of different textures and spices infused throughout the dish.
Palate Cleanser: Sweet Vermouth with White Chocolate. This was refreshing, crisp and definitely left me ready for something sweet!
Course Six: (for dessert we were each served something different) One dish was Chocolate Sorbet with Honey-Glazed Peanuts and Peanut Butter Ganache. O.M.G. I know, not the most articulate words to use but definitely the first that come to mind. The peanut butter ganache was hidden at first, but after tasting it in contrast to the chocolate and peanuts, I absolutely could not get enough!
The other dessert: Creme Caramel with Candied Apricots and Sweet Potato Crisp. My favorite part of this was the way they made a sweet potato slice taste almost like eating a gingerbread cookie dipped in sweet caramel sauce.
At this point. we were ready to be rolled-out from our table and blissfully leaving in a food coma. However, we were then surprised with two additional plates!
House-made Yogurt with Pomegranate Sauce. I loved the way these tart flavors bursted with flavor. The creamy yogurt highlighted the fresh pomegranate juice and seeds.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Macaroons. Need I say more?
Throughout the meal, we were served not only by our server but many others; everyone was attentive and made sure your setting was pristine and your questions were answered. Plates were brought out not only by the waitstaff but even the chef himself! My favorite part was that during all 6 courses, we never once felt even remotely rushed. Instead, we felt like truly entered someone’s home, who was passionate about cooking, and simply wanted to show us the best of everything they could offer. When we left and looked at the clock, we could not believe we had just spent nearly three hours eating one of the most memorable meals of our lives!
Craigie on Main is 100% family owned and operated. Chef Tony Maws grew-up in the Boston area and now lives in Cambridge. I am truly impressed at how well he and his staff take the best of what New England has to offer let that shine as they bring it to the dinner table.
The detail that goes into every single bite is remarkable. From the fresh and unique ingredients, to the artful presentation and knowledgable staff, Craigie on Main does not skip a single detail in providing an absolutely unforgettable and exquisite meal.
This meal was a part of Foodbuzz 24×24, showcasing 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publishers partaking in 24 unique meals around the globe in a 24-hour period. I am beyond grateful, overjoyed and appreciative that I was able to partake in this month’s event!