Craigie Next Door, Cambridge

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.

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Reading this made my heart glad. Thank you for your thoughtful report!

P.S. Count me in as Sheryl Julian fangirl. I have a binder of photocopied newspaper recipes of hers collected over the years. This summer, I dusted it off and was amazed to realize how much of an influence her writing has had on my tastes and cooking.

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thanks for the report!

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Great report, sciaccagirl. Sounds like a wonderful experience and it’s good to know that it’s available.

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Thank you, Denise ! I’d bet we have many of the same recipes in our respective binders.

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Thank you, bear. For me it was wonderful. exactly what my soul needed.

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You’re welcome. Thank you for reading and posting.

What a wonderful report! Knowing this is there is helping me reconcile with the idea of leaving Maine in October and coming home to the Boston area after all these months. Thanks so much for the detailed post – it all sounds delicious!

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Thank you, Gretchen! It was all delicious. I was so absorbed in the tastes, I didn’t realize I had failed to take even one picture to share.

BTDT for sure!

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold