Craigie on Main is a new American bistro located in Cambridge that emphasizes tasting menus, nose-to-tail dining with local, seasonal ingredients and also has a nationally recognized burger. Much of the Craigie burger’s popularity is built on the fact that every component made in house- from bun to ground meat to ketchup. Much more is a result of its scarcity- 18 burgers are only available in the bar each night. One way to get around the nightly 18 burger limit is to order one during Sunday brunch. Brunch is a very popular meal at Craigie. We arrived a little early and because the restaurant space is small, the waiting area is non-existent. Since it was a beautiful day, we waited outside, however, when the weather is not so cooperative, standing around by the door in the bar would be difficult. If you haven’t been, it truly is a spectacular space despite the size with the open kitchen right when you walk in, well lit, and very appealing.
Bloody Mary 10
Hemingway’s favorite Corpse Reviver
Choice of spicy vodka, gin, tequila, vegetable-infused vodka, gin
I started out with my favorite brunch drink, the Bloody Mary with spicy vodka. This is a Bloody Mary with lots of vegetable matter floating in it. It’s plenty spicy, lots of grated, fresh horse radish, and ginger, as well. I really liked how intense and real the tomato flavor was in the base, which made the drink so much more complex. The spicy zip was just what I wanted and for someone who enjoys spicy foods, very delicious but not over powering.
Local Grass-Fed Beef Burger 17
Shelburne Farm cheddar, mace ketchup, house-made bun, crispy potato fries
add fried egg 3, add house-smoked bacon 3
After trying this burger over the weekend, I can see why it is so popular and one of Boston’s best burgers available. It’s not a creative kind of burger. It’s a burger where all the classic elements are done right. The only thing many people may object to is the cost. Quality anything costs, right? The bun is baked to a dark golden brown right on the premises. There are sesame seeds on top. I’d like it a little better if there were just a little smaller in size and less dense. The burger patty is eight ounces of house ground beef from 2 different small-farm suppliers. Maws utilizes four different beef cuts or parts: beef shortrib, beef suet, flap meat and bone marrow. The proportions are top secret and the components vary slightly depending what is on hand each day. No flat patties here. The thick burger patty arrived cooked exactly to medium rare and gushing beef juices. Flavor includes dehydrated miso for a “subtle” umami flavor boost and some gaminess, which I enjoy.
There is fennel slaw, tart pickles or mace ketchup on the side, ready to be added to your preferences.
Bacon is a $3 option worth considering for its salt and crunch factors but I prefer it without the bacon. Let’s face it, I prefer to drink or have a dessert or two as my extra calories.
The fries are more like potato wedges, crispy and accented with tiny herbs and scallions. The texture was perfect, highlighting the contrast between crunchy shell and mealy interior. Highly enjoyable fries overall. Lightly dressed greens provide a healthy backdrop for the burger’s umami funk.
The burger is the kind of delicious that you remember for days after.
Grass-Fed Beef Cheek, Brisket, and Smoked Beef Tongue Hash 18
slow-poached farm-fresh egg, crispy onion rings
The hash was one of the best things I ate at brunch besides the burger. Normally hash is tasty diner or hangover breakfast or brunch food. At Craigie, they make it into something special and take the hash to the next level by reinventing it. The melt-in-your-mouth beef was flavorful and spoon-tender soft. There was corned beef, tongue, perfectly diced home fries and fried onion strings on top.
The service at Craigie is impeccable, whether you are in the bar, in the main room or at the chef’s table. This is one the reasons Craigie is always a stand out for me. Everyone we interacted with, was impeccable, attentive, and made us feel like a special meal even if we were just eating burgers and brunch.
Craigie on Main
853 Main Street
Cambridge, MA 02139