We had a babysitter (actually, for part of the evening, two) last night and got to go out to dinner. We went to Craigie on Main in Cambridge. Because colleges are done for the regular academic year, it was easy to find parking. I had set up a reservation on OpenTable as soon as we knew we had a sitter, and the restaurant called two days running to confirm. They didn't just want a call back if we were canceling; they wanted a confirmation phone call, which is novel for me.
We were a little late for our 6 p.m. because summer traffic on a Friday with excellent weather. I got a Sinister Street, because I've been having good luck lately with whisky (in this case, Scotch) cocktails that involve Benedictine. R. had The Grand Tour (a tequila drink) and Mellow Yellow. You can see a picture of The Grand Tour at Craigie here: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/restaurants/article/2013/10/29/boston-restaurants-craft-cocktail-crossover/
Mellow Yellow appears on the restaurant's libations pdf: http://www.craigieonmain.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/Bar-Libations-2015-03-17.pdf
The chianti classico I had by-the-glass was okay. After dinner R. got a Valdespino Pedro Ximenez (I might have forgotten some words on this) and it was really excellent.
You may have heard or seen on America's Test Kitchen the Craigie on Main burgers. We didn't get those. Altho we may put some effort into getting there earlier some day and snagging one.
The other choices are a la carte courses, a three course prix fix and a 6 or 8 course tasting. On the theory that this place is artisan, seasonal and locavore, where the hell else am I going to get to do a tasting menu that is all that, we got the 6 course. And I just want to say how amazing they were about R.'s allium issues and my dairy and shellfish issues.
The bread was good. They brought it out with butter for R. and extra virgin for me. There was an amuse bouche (all good, but I wanted that third bite to last forever), sashimi with beet and I don't like beets but this was incredible, egg and veg WITH BREAD TO SOP IT UP, fish, squab (I've never had squab; R. has) and dessert. Between the squab and the dessert there was an iced grape moscato palate cleanser (I only heard that once so I probably described it slightly wrong, but it was utterly amazing). R.'s dessert was mousse and coffee ice cream. Mine was strawberries, peach sorbet and a pavlova (a pavlova is a meringue with corn starch. I would have left most of it, so R. finished it off).
R. had ridden over 70 miles on the bike earlier in the day, so he was fine. Because everything was very small, I didn't lose interest, but I felt really full for a while afterwards. I have no idea how anyone would make it through two more courses, but perhaps they mini-fy the courses even further?
It's always a tricky question when having a meal like this: that's kind of a lot of money for one dinner. The service was friendly and fantastic -- they didn't hover, they allowed time between courses, they were willing to chat but we never felt like they were staying too long. The silverware is another thing. 80 Thoreau just has a box on the table, which works out well and reduces total table visits; at Craigie, there was someone resetting the table for every single course. As incredible as the meal was, there is just something about having someone come by that many times to put fresh silverware in front of you that stands out. I suppose that means I'm a classless peasant.
So: if that's the kind of experience you are looking for, it is amazeballs. They don't even make you dress up (altho the AC is turned up enough that if you wear slacks or hose you won't die). I cannot imagine doing the tasting on a regular basis, but I could sure see going back a few times a year for different seasons. And you can always be sane and order a la carte. I hope they stay there forever and never change (I mean, the menu always changes, but you get the idea).