The slavishly devoted throngs who have adored Chef Tony Maws’s Craigie Street Bistrot since it opened in Cambridge in 2003 must be breathing a sigh of relief right about now: The new Craigie on Main appears to be about as good as it was in the old space, now set in a sleek dining room with an open kitchen that’s worthy of Maws’s talents.
Craigie’s new bar menu is a big draw, with small, tapas-size plates that show off Maws’s “luxurious take on French Bistro cooking with a locavore slant,” according to MC Slim JB. WineAG advises hounds to sit in the bar area even if they plan on ordering dinner, because bar patrons can order from the main restaurant menu and the bar menu, while in the dining room the bar menu is off limits. “So the bar offers the best of both worlds… you can have whatever you want in a relaxed atmosphere… trust me, you won’t find food like this in any other bar around,” says WineAG. Several early Craigie on Main adopters talked up the smelts, the sashimi specials, and the seared pork belly. kimfair1 loved the $80 six-course “surprise me!” menu, in which, she says, “the wow factor was huge.” Other dishes hit the wrong gustatory notes; in particular, the polenta is not up to snuff.
The new location is a lot more upscale than the old, somewhat gritty basement room. Some worry that the nicer digs will spark pretentiousness and that “dressing-up-for-the-sake-of-dressing-up thing,” as Sgt Snackers puts it. But despite the upgrade, Sgt Snackers swears that Craigie is “about the food, which is stellar, and it need not be any fancier than it has to be to have a good time. So wear your sweaters with pride.”
Craigie on Main [Downtown]
853 Main Street, Cambridge