Monday, April 19, 2010

Craigie on Main

Last night we had a 9:30 reservation for the Chef's Whim at Craigie on Main. They only do it after 9 on Sundays, so we strategically picked the Sunday before Marathon Monday so we could both sleep in after the late dinner. They called Saturday night to confirm that we wanted the Whim, and we went with both vegetarian (even though I eat meat)... since one of the better things about a tasting menu is talking about what you get with whoever you're eating with. On Sunday, we took the T down two stops to Central, arriving a few minutes early, where a wandering waiter in the bar area asked if we wanted drinks while we waited... he conveniently put the drinks directly onto our bill, instead of necessitating settling up with the bar before getting seated. It's a simple thing, but I've never seen it before, and it made the experience feel more... I dunno... fancy? That's not quite right, but it definitely made me feel like the wait staff was really looking out for us. Which was another aspect that seemed unusual about Craigie on Main... it's not a formal dining setting (wait staff in jeans, customers all dressed casually)... but the competence displayed was exceptional. Our waitress spoke very knowledgeably about the wine list, we recieved fresh silverware for every course (a pet peeve of mine ever since reading about how horrid American table service is in The Making of a Chef), and everything just seemed to hum along quite smoothly.

We ordered the six course tasting, a relatively expensive bottle of white wine, and two glasses of red for the main course... so it was not a cheap night out, rivaling New Year's Eve in terms of expense. However, I certainly feel that dinners of this caliber are the very best reason to go out to eat in restaurants... since Anna and I don't have the training nor an army of chef's to whip up a six course tasting on a random night... where on the other hand, many a restaurant dish could be quite well executed by a competent home cook. As long as we keep it rare and special, I think it's a fine enough way to blow a couple of hundred bucks.

I didn't write down our courses, so I can't give a proper run down... but overall we were essentially floored by two of the six courses... an avocado salad (2nd course) that was simply perfect in it's interplay of textures (creamy and crisp) and flavors (rich and spicy) ... and a vidalia onion pottage (3rd course), that was shockingly complex in its flavors, served with a small grilled cheese that was just amazing. The first course, fourth, and fifth course were all excellent... but not quite as incredible as those two. The desert course on the other hand wasn't very exciting... decent enough, but not quite on par with the rest in our humble opinion.

Highly recommended.