November's Can't-Miss Dish

Burger - Craigie on Main

Looking for a no-fail, mouthwatering, gonna-tell-your-friends-about-it plate? Each month, Boston Globe columnist Ellen Bhang highlights the dish you need to try right now—and something to sip alongside it. 

On the plate: The Burger

Where to find it: As the sun sets on a chilly fall evening, neighborhood regulars and out-of-towners alike start queuing up outside Craigie on Main in Cambridge, waiting for the doors to open. Across the street, trucks rumble in and out of a U-Haul depot, while commuters throw puzzled glances our way. They’re wondering, “What’s so good that makes people stand in the cold?”

Notes on the nosh: What’s going on is the burger. Because just 18 are made each night and served only in the bar, patrons show up early to ensure they are among the lucky few to score one. Ever since Bon Appétit featured it on the magazine’s cover eight years ago, burger aficionados have flocked to chef-owner Tony Maws’ dine-with-the-seasons restaurant. Overhyped, you ask? Never. Grass-fed sirloin, short rib, and brisket—plus cheffy additions like bone marrow, suet, and dehydrated miso—all go into the sumptuous patty, which is griddled medium-rare, topped with Vermont cheddar, and tucked into a fluffy milk bun. Togarashi-seasoned fries—double-dunked in sizzling oil for extra crunch—arrive with housemade ketchup, pickles, and a petite tangle of celery root slaw.

Sip alongside: “Some people say that cocktails and food don’t pair, but they do,” says lead bartender Eric Books. A classic Daiquiri combining Papa’s Pilar Dark Rum, lime, and simple syrup offers a prime example. Vivacious yet supremely well-balanced, the shaken libation’s tart citrus cuts through the fat of the super-rich burger. With 30 different rums on offer, Books might very well turn you into a connoisseur of the spirit. But he’s all about crafting whatever suits the mood. “My favorite cocktail is context- and company-dependent,” he reassures.

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