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Boston Area

Craigie Street Bistrot, near Harvard Sq., Cambridge

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Restaurants & Bars 4

Craigie Street Bistrot, near Harvard Sq., Cambridge

Limster | Sep 5, 2002 11:50 PM

The grilled bone marrow in a section of bone is a glorious and lusty bosom of savoriness. Rustic and rich, it a rare and incredible delectation.

It's not something that one expects in a quiet residential corner near Harvard Square, where this little restaurant has just opened. The interiors are tastefully decorated with art deco-ish posters, a very Francophillic dressing that lends a stylish but comfortable feel to this modest dining room. It's like eating in the living room of a friend with good taste. Indeed, the friendly and eager-to-please waitstaff makes you feel right at home. (The French-speaking waiter with a long ponytail seems particularly knowledgable, describing the wines in friendly detail to several tables.)

The wonderful bone marrow can hold its own, but it is content to support the tender skirt steak that looks past its humble cut, elevated by impeccable cookery. The smokey dark red spice from a chile marinate and a moderate sprinkling of gremolata (finely chopped garlic and parsley) move it beyond the realm of ordinary. Perfect sides of coarsely mashed potatoes and and roasted carrots.

The celery soup that precedes is merely satisfying, the airy qualities of celery slightly dulled by a bit too much cream. Still, there is a lively touch from a garnish of fried squash blossom, crisp with lovely saltiness.

Cranberries dominate the well-crafted fruit crisp with a vermillion tanginess matched by a taste of oats in the crumbly layer. The canela ice cream is a welcoming partner, especially with its gentle hints of cinnamony spice that make the soft fruittiness more interesting.

Together with a glass of house red (a balanced and earnest Rhone) and a glass of flowery muscat beaune de venise (beautiful orange blossoms, a touch of vanilla, and a bittery orange zest at the end), the pre-tip bill comes to $48ish, which is very reasonable in my mind, considering the quality and craftmanship.

This place is new (just read about its opening in the Boston Herald, chef was the ex sous chef at Clio), and they seem eager to cultivate a clientele. I got a complementary pouring of the muscat beaune de venise because the dessert took a little long. The waitstaff are definitely putting their best foot forward and the attentions are almost motherly. I'll definitely keep this place in mind.

P.S. there's a 3-course neighbourhood prix-fixe for $29; it looks like a bargain.

Link: http://www.craigiestreetbistrot.com.

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