Food 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 onions 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 bottles 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
Feature photo courtesy of Craigie on Main.
Mary was born and raised in New York City where her family owned restaurants. Instead of eating dirt on the playground, she ate duck blood, beef tripe and pork belly. She cut her teeth at The Mandarin Oriental and The Ritz-Carlton hotels, working with Barbra Streisand, Vanessa Williams, Michael Stipe, LeVar Burton, Jane Krakowski and others. Mary founded Girl Meets Food in 2009 as a cover for her debilitating addiction to fried chicken and was named Washington Post’s “Favorite Local Foodie.” After 13 years in hospitality, she started freelance writing for USA Today, The Washington Post, Eater, Washington City Paper, and more. Today, she provides digital marketing for hospitality clients as a content creator who’s contently creating content.