Desperately trying to fit Craigie into my (not so) busy schedule before the end of the year, we finally made it over last night. If you haven’t been, it truly is a spectacular space, open kitchen right when you walk in, well lit, and overall very appealing. We hustled to get there right when they opened at 5:30 pm to make sure we could grab a table at the bar area (the only place to get the burger) and were fortunate enough to be seated immediately. We’ve been delegated to eating in bar area’s before (see the Met Bar) but have never been treated this well. In my experience the service in the bar is never as good as the main dining area, and in the case of Radius, the service overall was borderline arrogant and snobby despite eating in the main dining room. Craigie does not mess around, as the service, and everyone we interacted with, was impeccable, very attentive, and made it feel like a special night even if we were just eating burgers, again, the polar opposite of my Radius experience.
The burger was not like anything I’ve had all year, I wouldn’t call it gourmet, but it’s not your run-of-the-mill burger either. This felt special, I still can’t say any burger is worth $18, but the effort is there. It’s beefy, and unbelievably so, cooked to a perfect medium-rare, the cheddar fully melted and tangy, the house-made bun crispy and chewy all at the same time. The mace ketchup, again house-made, is nice, with a complementary sweetness to it, and there are so many different flavors going on, it’s difficult to pick them all out. There is some serious Umami, with the miso flavor the true backbone of this burger, it really takes it to another level. It’s easily the best tasting burger I’ve had in a while. It’s not a perfect plate, however, as it comes with shoestring fries, which as I’ve written before are not my preference. I never know how to eat them, if you use your hands it’s nearly impossible to dip in to ketchup, otherwise your using a fork to eat fries and feel like a fool. And there is some seasoning on the fries that I don’t love, not quite spicy, but assertive, I much rather just see some regular fries. But unlike most shoestrings, these are fried perfectly and are utterly crispy. The fennel slaw on the side also adds a much needed refreshment component to the meal.
Craigie on Main easily delivers the beefiest, juiciest burger of the year, and although it’s become a hot destination for burger lovers alike to come to, it’s still a process. You need to come early to guarantee a seat, and for two burgers and one beer plus tip, it costs nearly $30 per person. We’re talking burgers here, fundamentally, I still take issues with spending that much on a burger, but at least on this night, it was worth every penny.