If you read my reviews or follow my Tweets, you're probably aware of my love for Craigie on Main, Tony Maws' casual farm-to-table restaurant in Cambridge. Though he's known for his animal part and farm-fresh-veg heavy tasting menus, his bar snacks and brunch items are no less awesome.
Case in point: The Corned Beef Cheek Hash ($18), available on their Sunday brunch menu. It starts with extra-fatty beef cheeks pickled in the same brine they use to make their corned beef brisket. Grass-fed beef has a reputation of being more flavorful but less fatty than its grain-fed counterpart, but that stereotype is in no way evident here. It gets braised until meltingly tender, the rich liquid enhanced by the rendered fat from the beef. If you're lucky, you'll get there on a day when they couple the beef cheeks with a few chunks of corned beef tongue.
Tiny cubes of potatoes, turnips, celery root, squash, and onions are roasted until deeply browned and tender then finished off with a splash of the braising liquid from the beef. The whole mess is piled into a big bowl, topped with a perfectly poached egg, and covered with a generous handful of crisply fried shallot rings.
It's powerful enough brunch fare that it almost makes you forget about your hangover and go ahead and order an extra Bloody Mary.
Craigie on Main
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.