gltsoi (gltsoi) wrote,

Craigie on Main, Cambridge

Craigie St. Bistrot was situated in a tiny basement space outside of Harvard Square. It was considered “cozy” as best and dark and cramped at worst. It finally made a move to a much larger space in Central Square a few months ago and the positive reviews keep rolling in. One of the things that people seemed to love at the original restaurant was the Chef’s Whim menu, where Tony Maws will cook you an impromptu 4 or 6 course menu ($40 or $55). It only happens on Sunday nights after 9pm. He retained this deal for the new restaurant.


R and I did the Chef’s Whim this past Sunday with Peggi and John. The space is a vast improvement, although I find the drop ceilings a bit out of character with the rest of the space, which is to say, they are ugly. We chose the 6 course menu (was there ever any question?) and we had:


1.      Fish rillettes with paddlefish caviar and 3 tiny potato chips. This was tasty, but I thought more appropriate for an amuse bouche, than an actual course.

2.      Fried Essex clams with squid ink mayo. They were light, airy and perfectly fried. I could have eaten a basket of them and gone home happy.

3.      Arctic Char stuffed with mussels and crabs. I thought the stuffing was great, the fish was perfectly cooked, but not that exciting.

4.      Turnip and celery root soup with shaved truffles and a single Brussels sprout leaf. I liked the soup a lot; I thought it was perfect for a cold wintery night. R was not impressed.

5.      Our main entrée came and it was a young chicken stuffed with blood sausage. I thought, “Great, what are the chances of this? They took one of the 5 things that I don’t eat and stuffed it in to my least favorite protein.” But the chicken was marvelous; it was moist and juicy and the blood sausage was flavorful and delicious. I think will take blood sausage off the list of things I don’t eat.

6.      They brought out four different desserts, which I thought was great. Unfortunately, the desserts themselves were only okay.

We had:

a.       Sweet corn grits – It was more like a breakfast dish than dessert. It was my least favorite.

b.      Apple crumble – very mundane.

c.       Mocha Mille Feuille – I liked this one, it was rich and dark, with layers of dark chocolate mousse and chocolate phyllo.

d.      Gingerbread pain perdu – this was the best one, nice texture and flavor.


It was a nice meal, with excellent service and a terrific bread basket. The Chef’s Whim is a pretty good deal. The new space has a completely open kitchen. I’m pleased to say that Tony Maws was in there overseeing the meals. I think it would be great fun to sit at one of the counter spaces and watch all the action. They also do a 3 course prix fixe menu for $38.

Tags: restaurant review
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