Tag Archives: burger

Craigie on Main, Kendall / Central Sq

Standard

Craigie on Main – 853 Main Street Cambridge, MA 02139

We’ve all heard about Craigie on Main’s famous burger but I hadn’t met anyone who had actually eaten it. Every time it came up the response was “Ohh I’ve heard it’s the best, I need to get there” or people would talk about their failed attempts. They had gone and tried to get the burger but it wasn’t on the dining room menu, they couldn’t get a seat at the bar, they were sold out, etc. These are the types of stories that usually get my hopes waaayy up ensuring that I am disappointed when the time actually comes around. But not this time, my friends.

I had somewhat randomly ended up at Craigie on Main after a few drinks (at Cuchi Cuchi) with my (now former) colleagues on a Tuesday night. As soon as Craigie was mentioned I started going on and on about their burgers and how I have heard so much about them and read articles, etc. Now they wanted to try their burger as much as I did. Excellent plan.

Miraculously, as we were entering Craigie someone was leaving, freeing up 3 seats together at the bar. BOOM. We took them, ordered 3 beers and 3 burgers rare. JLo got his au cheval, which is with a fried egg on top. Delicious but I wanted to taste the burger in its simplest form for my first time.

This photo really doesn’t do it justice (guess I will have to go back and retake it?) but this was a damn good burger. Damn good. You can taste the quality of the ingredients, especially the meat. The cheese was sharp, the bread a perfect combination of soft and toasted (and buttered, obvi). The burger is simple and flavorful. I get it now. You don’t find a taste like that in your average $8 burger (hence the $14 price tag -well worth it, btw).

20130120-220008.jpg

Overall, I liked the atmosphere of Craigie with the open kitchen and friendly staff. The bartenders were whipping up some awesome creations too, which I’ll have to get back for some time. I think we got lucky with finding seats so quickly as there were people waiting once we sat down so be prepared for that.  I’ve never eaten in the dining room and, honestly, probably never will as I’ll be wiggling my way up to the bar for a burger the next time I go in there.

How did Craigie on Main measure up? 4.75 Spoons!

Cambridge Common, Harvard Sq

Standard

Where: Cambridge Common- 1667 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138
When: September 2012

I used to be a brunch person going almost every weekend -t was my Sunday equivalent of church. I would roll out of bed, put on my Sunday worst (sweatshirt, sneaks, ponytail) and head down to Sound Bites around the corner for something delicious and typically greasy. This would usually be followed by a few hours on the sofa watching mind numbing tv as I was too full to do anything else. Why did I stop, right?

Well, I moved to a different part of town but I still jump at the chance to go out for brunch so was thrilled when a friend was in town at the last minute and suggested meeting up on Sunday morning. In shorts, tees and ponytails we headed to Cambridge Common to check out their brunch menu. We sat outside in the sunshine which was just perfect. They had me at Breakfast B.L.T.

The Breakfast B.L.T. comes with applewood smoked bacon, fried egg, avocado, baby spinach, and tomato with chipotle mayo on multi-grain toast and is served with home fries and fresh fruit. The combination of the salty bacon and egg with the buttery avocado and spicy mayo is out of this world. It’s a good sized sandwich but doesn’t leave you feeling like you just ate a whole cow. The home fries were good as well – nice and crispy.

Overall, service was good and we got plenty of coffee refills (perhaps too many even). We were happy to able to sit outside as its a little dark indoors (great for nighttime though). Food was crave worthy. I’ll be back, as I always am.

How did Cambridge Common measure up? 3.75 Spoons!

Lord Hobo, Kendall Sq

Standard

Where: Lord Hobo – 92 Hampshire St Cambridge, MA 02139
When: March, 2012

Meg and I have been trying to get together for what seems like months but with all sorts of work related crisis coming up we had to postpone a few times. This time we managed to get on the same schedule and made a plan to go to Lord Hobo for burgers after work. I loved being able to walk there in under 10 minutes from our new offices. I even had time to head to the gym for a quick run to ease the guilt of what was bound to be a high calorie evening. Gotta love that.

I had been to Lord Hobo only once, for drinks, since they took over the B Side’s space a couple of years ago. The B Side, on the other hand, was one of my go to places for drinks and dinner.

Meg started with a beer and I went for the London 77 half based on the list of ingredients, half on the description: “Punks like pink”. The London 77 is made with Hendrick’s gin, grapefruit, St. Germain, and Prosecco. I recently learnt that the London 77 is a play off the French 75 which I am a big fan of (get it at Chez Henri next time you are there). No wonder I enjoyed it so much.

While we sipped on our drinks we started with an order of the daily Hand-cut Chips and Dip which today’s special was served with a caramelized onion and goat cheese dip. The dip was really good, like a fancied up version of the Heluva Good French Onion Dip we all hate to love. The chips were also very good – made to order, crispy and not too greasy. You truly can’t just eat one.

I had planned to get the burger, as Meg did, but then saw that it was taco night and they had Fish Tacos, which totally swayed me. I wanted to love the tacos but I was a little disappointed with the them. The flavors were all great with the zesty creamy guacamole and the rich black beans balancing it out but the fish wasn’t crispy at all. The batter thick, soft and a dull. I couldn’t even tell you what kind of fish it was as the flavored were so muted by the batter. It really needed that crunch as all the other ingredients were very soft.

20120306-210321.jpgMeg got the Lord Hobo Burger which came with Cabot cheddar and on a brioche bun with a side of fries. She said it was a very good burger, reinforcing that I made the wrong choice. I can confirm that the fries are excellent as I stole at least a dozen off of Meg’s plate throughout dinner (thanks, Meg).

For “dessert” we got another London 77 to split. It was delicious but that meant when I got home I would need to have a couple cookies for my chocolate fix. That’s ok though.

Overall, I still love the feel of Lord Hobo as its a lot like the B Side was – dark but cozy. Service was really great; our waitress was super friendly and attentive. Drinks were definitely awesome. Food… I need to give it another go as those fish tacos didn’t impress me at all but I think the food at Lord Hobo has the potential to based on the chips, dip, and fries that I did have. Great place to go to with colleagues or a group of friends after work, which I am sure I will be doing often. I hate to give it a low ranking but must until the next time.

How did Lord Hobo measure up? 3.5 Spoons!

Lord Hobo on Urbanspoon

Firebrand Saints, Kendall Sq

Standard

20120122-200706.jpg Where: Firebrand Saints – 1 Broadway, Cambridge MA 02142
When: January, 2012

I had never even heard of Firebrand Saints until Meg mentioned wanting to try it out a few weeks ago. After googling it I learnt it is literally 2 blocks from where I work, right in Kendall Sq. How did it sneak by without me detecting it?

Meg and I decided to do a joint review, keeping reading!

Overview / Decor

Meg: Obviously fitting very well into the whole Kendall Square techno-chic aesthetic that’s going on in all these new places. I actually found it to be much cozier than I expected.

Me: Based on the online menu I thought Firebrand Saints would be a little more casual than it was. It’s definitely not “fancy” but it’s cozy and trendy in a non pretentious way. It made me regret my decision to wear my bulky snow boots, glasses, and comfy sweater.

Service

Meg: Although I know some reviews have faulted the service for being slow or inattentive, I thought this was one of the high points of our experience. I was really impressed with our waiter–he was friendly and attentive, without being intrusive; he gave substantive menu suggestions; he noticed my drink was done even before I did. The pacing of everything was good. I felt like it was efficient without being rushed, and even though it was filling up on a Friday night, I didn’t feel rushed to finish my drink at the end of the meal so they could get us out to turn the table over.

Me: We were seated quickly and greeted by our friendly waiter. While we waited for our cocktails (another Pimm’s Cup for me and a Whiskey Smash for Meg) we asked our waiter what his favorite eats are. He immediately said their burgers are fantastic and then went though pointing randomly at items on the menu saying this is good, that is good. Ok, so what don’t you like? This a risky question and typically I don’t get an honest answer so I was charmed that I did. He said he wasn’t a huge fan of the roast beef au jus sandwich (because of the bread choice) and he didn’t think the poached lobster was worth the price tag. Excellent! Well, I’m not getting the roast beef then. I appreciated his candidness.

Food/Drinks

Meg: The Whiskey Smash was good enough to20120120-225321.jpg have 2. Enough said. I feel a little silly reviewing it without trying the burgers, but if you’re not Five Guys or Four Burgers, why be a one-trick pony? Arugula salad: Nothing I couldn’t have made for myself, but a good balance of bite from the lemon juice and pepper, and a generous amount of shaved parmesan, without overwhelming the greens. Buffaloed rock shrimp: Delicious, with just the right amount of vinegar-y tang and spice from the hot sauce. Cooked just right, giving the shrimp that done-but-firm mouth feel, without making them soggy or mealy, which can happen when this dish is an afterthought in the menu. I still am not clear what the side produce was, but it was a cooling and enjoyable alternative to celery and bleu cheese. It was a great shared plate. Porchetta plate with kale and polenta: Perfect dish for a cold Friday night. The porchetta had just the right level of salt and tenderness, although I did find a few pieces to be somewhat dry, and would have liked the meat to have retained a bit more moisture. The kale was braised nicely, perhaps in a cider vinegar? I wouldn’t have eaten a ton of it on its own as a side, but especially when eaten in the same bite as the porchetta and perfectly creamy polenta, it made all three elements of the dish much stronger, even, than they were individually. The Captain Planet of porchetta 20120120-225308.jpgplates, if you will. Steak fries: really more like a potato wedge, and I bet they really round out the burgers. Just the right amount of salt and perfectly cooked (not too firm, and left with that satisfying brown crispiness, without becoming mushy in the middle). Dessert: the only dessert choices are a selection of pies featuring Russell Orchards fruit (which, to be fair, could be outstanding) and ice cream. I’m torn about what to say on this matter, because on the one hand, g’head and do your thing, Firebrand Saints! You are for meat! If you want dessert, walk your butt over to the Cheesecake Factory or something. On the other hand, it felt like the Restaurant Wars episode of Top Chef where everything is chugging along beautifully until someone is like, “I think we can just get by with some ice cream and shaved chocolate, right?” I didn’t feel disappointed or unfulfilled at the end of the meal, but I probably would have dropped another $6 on a bread pudding or profiterole, given the option.

Me: Before we went I did the usual looking over their menu online trying to narrow down what I will get (otherwise expect dull conversation for the 20120120-225314.jpgfirst 10 minutes of dinner as I’m a terrible decision maker). I knew what I wanted – the roast beef au jus sandwich. I hadn’t had one of those since pre-vegetarianism so it must have been about 7 years. It’s time. My decision was quickly thrown out the window once the waiter told us that it was his least favorite on the menu. I was grateful that Meg wasted to share a few items as it made the decision easier. Porchetta plate with kale and polenta: I’m a big fan of the other white meat so quickly agreed to this option. The kale may have converted me to a kale-liker as until then I would have never ordered it. It was braised really nicely and a wonderful compliment to the saltiness of the porchetta. The p olenta was so creamy and cheesy, I could have eaten a soup bowl of it. The star of the dish, the porchetta, was… Fatty. I didn’t know a whole lot about porchetta other than it being pork so wasn’t sure what to expect but it was a lot fattier than I expected. Not like ‘I need to run an extra mile tomorrow’ but like ‘I can’t bring myself to swallow this’ fatty. After a little table side googling we did find out that porchetta is generally very fatty so not sure I can fault Firebrand Saints for this, it’s just not my thing. Buffaloed rock shrimp: YUM! I loved this dish! I’m a big fan of buffalo shrimp which you don’t find that often (why aren’t they as popular as buffalo chicken?) so was very pleased to find this. The shrimp were light delicate little things lightly coated in buffalo sauce drizzled with a blue cheese fondue. Delicious. I could eat this again and often. It came with a refreshing salad that I believe was maybe celeriac and celery but I’m not really sure to be honest. Steak fries: These “fries” were monsters at about a quarter of a potato each. They were crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside. Hearty, filling and satisfying. Dessert: Anytime I go out to eat I think of it as a special occasion and since desserts are for special occasions we asked what they had. I don’t remember exactly what they offered but all I heard was “pie, pie, pie, pie, and ice cream.” They need a little something chocolatey on there!

Overall

Meg: Overall, I enjoyed the atmosphere, and thought it was a great value. I would definitely come back for burgers. 4.25 Spoons (for the dry porchetta and on behalf of folks who don’t really like pie).

Me: I would and will definitely go back soon whether it’s for a drink and app at the bar or a burger for lunch or dinner. How do I think Firebrand Saints measured up? 4 Spoons!

Firebrand Saints on Urbanspoon