French Farm-to-Table at Craigie on Main

  • Craigie-1
    Crispy fried pigs’ tails.
  • Craigie-2
    Dexterous bartenders who craft old classics.
  • Craigie-3
    Pied de cochon Farci for two.
  • Craigie on Main
    Milk-fed pig's head. Photo: Antoinette Bruno.

F
ood and Wine Magazine says it has one of the “25 Best Burgers in the U.S.”  Bon Appetit Magazine states, “it took Chef Tony Maws six months to create his ultimate burger.”  But I wasn’t here for the burgers.  I found something much more anomalous.

Tucked away on a quiet street in Central Square is Craigie on Main, one of the hottest, new restaurants in Boston.  This organic, head-to-tail restaurant serves French fare, using farm-fresh, local ingredients.

Snag a seat at the dark, romantic yet casual bar, where the full menu is served.  You will be entertained by Craigie on Main’s sharply-dressed, dexterous bartenders who craft old classics, attested by the small bottles of house-made infusions and bitters that line the bar.

Like a mad scientist, our bartender poured, tasted and stirred two cocktails at a time, doling out Northern Lights ($11) with St. Germain, Scotch, citrus, Bittermens Tiki; and Ardoise ($11) with Rain, sage, juniper, and lime.

Start with an appetizer of crispy fried pigs’ tails ($17), sprinkled with pickled peanuts and pungent, sweet nước chấm.  It tastes like the adopted baby of Susur Lee and Jacques Pépin—distinctly South Asian but rich and very decadent.

Fried onion rings on top? Yeah, that would be Jacques’ idea, too.  Maybe I watched too many Looney Tunes episodes as a kid, but I thought pigs had coiled tails. Who will open my wine now?

I originally came for the milk-fed confit baby pig’s head for two, but alas, a nor’easter prevented a proper delivery.  You could say I tried to get head but ended up putting a foot in my mouth.  The pied de cochon Farci for two ($64) did not disappoint.  Enjoy a craft cocktail or two, as this pig’s foot takes a full 45 minutes to prepare.

When it arrives, it is a glorious, glistening trotter that is de-boned and stuffed with its own lush, succulent meat, wrapped in pork belly.  Jacques would be so proud.  Beautiful cross-sections of pork are soft, custard-like and gelatinous.  Served on a bed of creamy potatoes and kasha, sweetened with a mix of chestnuts, pioppini mushrooms and parsnip purée, it is a mosaic of flavors and colors.

Sure, Craigie on Main shot to #2 on GQ’s Magazine “Ten Best New Restaurants in U.S.,” and Chef Tony Maws was nominated for the James Beard Award for Best Chef, Northeast in 2009 and 2010.  Yet the star here is the farm-fresh flair.

Craigie on Main
853 Main Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
617.497.5511

Craigie On Main on Urbanspoon

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Mary Kong-DeVito

Mary grew up in New York where the food-centric city and her family's restaurants were literally her playground. Instead of eating dirt, she ate duck blood and rotten eggs. You never know what you'll find on the sidewalks.Mary is a veteran of the hospitality industry who's worked with numerous celebrities such as Barbra Streisand, Patrick Ewing, Vanessa Williams, Michael Stipe and Jane Krakowski. Her writing has appeared in DC Modern Luxury, Washington Post Express, Eater, Scoutmob, Washington Flyer and Washington City Paper.She eats "normal" stuff too, like cheeseburgers. Kangaroo cheeseburgers.

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  1. Christine 1 February, 2011 at 21:30 Reply

    So thrilled you could experience the piggalicious goodness at Craigie. Pig tails and pied au cochon and (attempted) pig’s head in one go? I tip my hat off to you (and demand we share a meal at some point together). I’m in Boston but grew up near DC most of my life. Cheers, Christine

    • Mary 1 February, 2011 at 22:12 Reply

      I would love that, Christine! Looks like we have much in common. Please let me know the next time you’re in DC. There is a lot of eating to do…

  2. Shakti 15 February, 2011 at 20:49 Reply

    You were at Craigie on Main last month?! Only one of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE RESTAURANTS in the country. So happy you went, it is made for lovers like you.

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