We finally made the voyage out to Craigie on Main for dinner last Friday night. I say voyage but really, it’s not that far away – we just needed to get outside of our comfort zone area once again (i.e. outside of Somerville, and the Harvard, Porter and Inman Square areas of Cambridge) and make it a plan to go there. We stopped off at Central Bottle beforehand though because they were doing a beer tasting event, plus I wanted to grab a jar of the quince chutney they mentioned in their newsletter email earlier that day. Tony ended up buying a pack of Fischer amber; I tried it and liked it a lot too, even though I’m not a beer drinker.
We dropped our goods off into the car on our way to the restaurant and then mozied our way over to the restaurant. We walked in around 5:45 pm and there was already a line for seating at the bar. There was a party of two in front of us, and shortly after we got there, about six more people lined up behind us. We wanted to sit at the bar because we wanted to be able to order off the bar menu; in all honesty, I just wanted to try their highly acclaimed burger! (And yes, their regular menu is a tad bit pricy and this wasn’t one of those particularly special-special occasions to dine out, so the bar was just fine for us.)
It was kind of neat (again, in my own food-geek sort of way) to be able to just watch what was going on in and around the kitchen area. There was a head guy shouting out the orders and making sure the dishes were all set before they went out onto the tables (What is that guy called? It’s like what Gordon Ramsey does in Hell’s Kitchen.) He seemed like someone you wouldn’t want to piss off in the kitchen there. Anyway, despite the shouting of orders and what seemed like a ton of waitstaff running around, it seemed like such a smooth operation. The bar was completely packed and the dining area was bustling – I’m glad we got there for the bar queue when we did because we sat, ate, and left before the couple behind us even got a seat!
Now, on to the main topic: the burger. The burger! It’s an $18 dish, let me just put that out there now before you meander over to their menu and discover that for yourself. [Insert sidenote here: we had two vouchers for free drinks because we had tried to go to the restaurant shortly after it opened at this location but the wait was well over an hour for a regular table then, so that justified us spending so much on the burgers. But it was well worth it, voucher or no voucher … keep reading!] Yes, I know, that’s definitely not a cheap burger. But it was soooooo good. So good! It’s made with local grass-fed beef, Cantal cheese, crispy onion rings and served on a home-made sesame seed bun. It comes with spicy pickle slices, a celery root slaw, and house-made ketchup served in cute little serving dishes, as well as thickly cut french fries on the side. I couldn’t eat the onion rings because the bartender found out that they have cayenne pepper in the dredge so I was kind of bummed about that, but that didn’t last very long once I tasted the burger itself. It was cooked a perfect medium-rareness and was almost too big to handle, which is good in my book. There was so much flavor in the meat and in the cheese. Yes, I am drooling just thinking about it now.
We ate too much bread before our burgers came (those were delicious, too) so we didn’t have any room for dessert afterwards. I would definitely head back there in the future (my stepdad would love this burger) if I ever have an inkling for a burger of that magnitude. It’s funny because it is such a simple burger where you don’t have fussy things like goat cheese or avocados or a special sauce, and yet it’s simply delicious.
Craigie on Main
853 Main Street
Cambridge, MA 02139