Not only do I live in the greatest city in the state, but I also live a short walk from one of the best restaurants in New England, Craigie on Main.
I've been to Craigie countless times, I even have a future reservation there to celebrate my birthday, but never for brunch. I don't know if it's extreme laziness about booking a reservation, or the fear of having a Sunday morning obligation, but I always thought brunch at Craigie was out of reach.
With the warmer than usual temperatures this past Sunday we decided to head to brunch - and though we would try our luck at the Craigie bar. No seats were available, and I was ready to concede when the hostess informed us there was a table in the bar area. Victory was ours.
We started with a house blend of coffee and took our time looking over the brunch menu and watching the expert kitchen staff at work. After finishing coffee, we started our meal with cocktails and appetizers. For drinks, we chose the Bloody Mary (I'm predictable) made with spicy vegetable vodka. There were flavors of tumeric and paprika in the house-made bloody mary mix, which gave it a wonderful smoky flavor. The Clover Club, was a potent mix of Bombay, lemon, grenadine and egg white. It was expertly shaken and arrived with a frothy top and a cherry on the side.
The appetizers were house-made donut with confiture du lait and pork belly. Great on their own, outstanding together. Sticky, sweet, warm and fatty. I could have eaten a dozen of those donuts.
After the appetizers, we switched over to beer (Pretty Things and Helles Schlenkerla). My beer selection was based completely on the servers suggestion and he was spot on with this beer, I loved the smokiness and it paired very well with my burger.
Speaking of service, it was fantastic. I know from experience that brunch is the worst shift to work, but our server was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and personable, as to be expected of Tony Maws' expert staff.
Entrees for the morning included Grass-Fed and House-Brined Corned Beef cheek and Smoke Beef Tongue Hash - with slow poached egg and crispy onions.
As well as the Local Grass-Fed Beef Burger - with cheddar, house-made mace ketchup, house-made bun and crispy fried potatoes with a fried egg.
Both dishes were flavorful and beautifully presented. The expertly poached egg on the hash was gently placed on the dish and timed perfectly, as it arrived still piping hot. Despite my many visits to Craigie, this was my first experience of the burger. Served medium-rare, on a soft house-made bun with a melted slice of cheddar, this burger was nothing short of amazing. I took my time eating it. Slowly chewing and savoring the rich meat flavor while mumbling thisissogood over and over.
There's a reason this burger was on the cover of Bon Appetit in August 2010.
I can't say anything more about this burger than I think everyone who loves burgers needs to try it. You'll understand why.
I'm lucky to call Craigie on Main a neighborhood restaurant. It's a place to have a wonderful meal, from start to finish - check it out for brunch!
(all photos taken with an iPhone)