For the third year in a row, Chef Tony Maws, (of the famous Craigie on Main and the newly opened Kirkland Tap and Trotter) and his sidekick chef de cuisine, Carl O’Dooley, are getting their heads together to create an evening of culinary rareties. In their Rare Foods Dinner series, much as a theme underlying Maws’ approach to menu making, items many other chefs might discard and waste are to be exemplified for their true, tasty potential.
In a four course sit down affair, guests can choose between the likes of foie de lotte torchon or beef tongue and heart carpaccio; plankton zucca pasta or cod head boudin blanc. And no worries if you have no idea what you are about to eat, the staff have made two pledges for the evening:
1) Guests (who are nervous nellies or serious food lovers) will have to Google at least 10 different menu items; if they don’t, Craigie will give you an order of their famous fried pigs tails (I am not sure if that is a punishment of a gift…)
2) If guests do not agree that the lesser known selections are just as tasty as their more popular counterparts, they can enjoy an order of the pig part du jour.
Chef Tony Maws was kind enough to answer a few quick questions about this upcoming dinner and running two restaurants:
The Daily Meal: As a leader throughout Boston's food scene, do you feel diners are becoming more and more aware and accepting of lesser known parts of fish, meat and even vegetables?
Chef Tony Maws: We've certainly seen more off-cuts make it on to more menus. It's hard to find a menu without pork belly on it. And people seem genuinely interested in trying food they haven't had before.
This is the third year in a row you and now with Chef de cuisine Carl Dooley are putting on The Road Less Traveled dinner, do you have a theme for the evening?
The theme is the dinner itself. We want to use as many different things as we can make while also making them harmonious within the entirety of the meal.
As the Executive Chef at two stellar restaurants now, are you finding it very difficult to juggle being in two places at once, in addition to coming up with incredibly unique and delicious dishes?
It can be a challenge, but we built our team up to be able to handle this new reality. And I dare say they're not just handling it, they're killing it!
You make mention of your crispy pig tails, is this a staple item on Craigie's menu?
Yes, it has been for a while. I've eaten more than my fair share!
With many different dinner series going on around Boston, do you believe that eating out at restaurants can be as much of an educational experience as a culinary one?
I think any dinner can be whatever you want it to be. I imagine that people don't always want to be educated -- sometimes they just want to eat tasty food. Other times maybe they want something more cerebral or provocative.
Will you be using this dinner as a drawing board for future menu items at both of your restaurants?
Hard to say at this point. We're always working on new things and the inspiration comes from many directions, especially now that I have two chef de cuisines [Carl Dooley at Craigie and Dan Scampoli at The Kirkland Tap & Totter]. But I'm sure we'll taste something and say "that's gotta stick around!"
The dinner takes place on January 29th at Craigie on Main. Reservations are highly recommended.