I’ve been slow to eat outside unsure of what I’ll find at any restaurant or how comfortable I will feel to enjoy what I’m eating. Instead when I am just tired of my own cooking been happy to order takeout from places and causes I want to support. That is until I read Sheryl Julian’s piece in the August 26th Food Section of the Boston Globe. She in her way raved about Craigie Next Door from the location, the ambience (yes, ambience!) of the parking lot to the food itself. Been of fan of Ms. Julian’s for a long time.
What I needed was a potential dining companion with an adventuresome palate to share the meal presented family style. Mission accomplished I made a reservation on Tock (prepaid including tax & 18% gratuity) for last night at 5:30 pm, my dining companion’s only quirk - early dinner. I digress.
Parking was plentiful from there all was a joy. A warm welcome at host stand, Covid guidelines softly explained, the outdoor setup, spacing of tables, the seasonal ingredients in all three courses presented family style, delightful server - it was an adventure I have missed. I was not disappointed. The menu changes to reflect what is in season.
We began with a house pickle that was a tad too vinegary for both our palates and the only plate that was returned to the kitchen with food on it.
First course was salmon rillettes with toasted baguette and fresh cucumbers, along with
a plate of local tomatoes, black olives, capers and blue cheese vinaigrette plus a slaw of
mixed radishes, Napa cabbage, yogurt, sumac & mint that was both peppery and hot to my palate.
The empty plates were cleared and the main event appeared : a platter featuring a grilled local swordfish brochette, grilled Craigie garlic sausage(yum) & St. Louis-style ribs (so tender) all on a pool of fire-roasted tomato & fresh corn polenta with grilled vegetables to boot - a couple of red and one yellow cubanelle pepper and a quartered red onion.
Then, came dessert served individually : local grilled peach with house made cornbread, a touch of honeyed labne and rye-macerated berries. It was perfect.
Almost forgot to talk about the cocktails we started with - both featured to compliment the night’s menu. I chose the “Thicket & Tonic” which was blackberry-infused beefeater gin, bénédictine dolin blanc vermouth, lime, and fever tree tonic. My dc chose the
“Dark Magic” : brugal 1888 rum, oloroso sherry, zucca st. george nola coffee liqueur. We chose well. Also available a few select wines, beers and hard cider plus soft drinks.
Everything was contactless - all QR code scanning. Planned for 90 minute blocks, we were there closer to 2.5 hours, never rushed. It was dining after all. FYI there is a chef’s whim NextDoor on Sunday nights.