East Coast Grill
- Seth Ditchik
Ate dinner last night at the East Coast Grill on Cambridge St. in Cambridge and was not impressed. The oysters were fresh and tasty. I had jumbo shrimp stuffed with cornbread & sausage; the shrimp tasted obviously frozen (my wife informs me that they probably were) and the stuffing lacked much of a sausage taste. The jalepeno BBQ sause that accompanied it was good though. Wife was unimpressed by her bluefish. Dessert was a "jamaican banana split" which was okay but nothing special; no "caramel-rum" taste to speak of, despite the dish's description. All in all a mediocre meal which would have tasted better at half the $100 we ended up paying for it. This is especially sad because I ate there about two years ago and had a vastly superior meal.
Went to "Hell Night" a couple of weeks ago, and found it entertaining. It's the only reason I go to East Coast Grill anymore. (Sorry, Chris...) Anyway the service was bizarre, as all the help were in costumes -- the devil, etc. -- and they were tremendously busy. We had a seat near the grill, so the air was filled with vaporized habanero peppers -- sort of like tear gas. The choking, gagging, and crying of the waitstaff while they served us through the haze was worth the price of the meal.
The food was great for what it was. I had the goat barbeque, a five bomb plate (out of six), which had a numbingly hot mango salad on it. I awoke at 3 am with the sensation of a nuclear reaction deep in my bowels, and recovered completely after a couple of days -- probably contributed to by my having eated a couple of pickled habaneros and a couple of pickled serranos while waiting for the food to arrive. My 71 year old father, a refugee of the WTC destruction (he lives across the street in Battery Park City) stuck with the two bombers and avoided the pickled peppers, and survived nicely.
About the price: I'm not sure how you spent a hundred buck for two, but I only give them my money on Hell Night.
re: Dr. Dog
Somehow going thru all that pain to eat just doesn't seem worth it. Five out of six on their rating system? Yikes.
And I have to agree that the ECG was a little disappointing. Hadn't been there in years and revisited almost 2 years ago now. A bunch of us got tuna and it was all overcooked. It was fine but it's a fair amount to spend (I don't think it'd take much to reach $100 with a couple drinks) and the noise level is crazy. Lots of other places I'd rather go.
Ya know, I hate to say this, because I've always considered the East Coast Grill one of my favorite restaurants, but over the last 2 years, my favorite signature dish of theirs has really gone downhill..I LIVE for the white-pepper crusted tuna, done black and blue...But what used to be a little filet-mignon, custom butchered cut of tuna has turned into an adequate tuna steak. And the black and blue; raw on the inside, charred on the outside, has become just an ordinary rare. It seems to me that the grilling just doesn't get the attention it used to. They used to keep one part of their grill WAY hot for that style of cooking, and the cutting edge is gone...It happened about the time the Back Eddy opened---I tried to order it there, sent it back because it was DONE all the way thru, and they tried again, but the grill just wan't hot enough...Believe me, I've tried many times! It's still a good meal, but it used to be a culinary bellweather!
Well, I am glad that someone brought this up. We are great ECG fans, and live right near by. We think it's a great restaurant, but have noticed some disturbing trends in recent months.
First, they will do take out, although they don't advertise it much anymore. As new parents, we avail ourselves of LOTS of takeout. Last time we went to pick it up, however, we were met with serious attitude from the hostess staff, who got angry when we told them we had been waiting 20 minutes for our change, and told us that "we aren't set up for takeout." Then don't offer it! Waitstaff remained excellent the last time we ate in, but the hostesses need an attitude adjustment. We were distressed by the closing of Jake and Earls years ago, particularly since when signing the neighborhood petition to expand, we were told that takeout barbecue would continue to be available. Now we have to to Somerville or Arlington for 'que!
The other thing that bothers us is that the specials seem to be the same for weeks on end. This strikes us as a decline in creativity/imagination, and we hope to see new and exciting dishes occasionally posted in the future, especially since Chris S's books continue to be so interesting.
As for dessert, I agree that the banana split is not remarkable. But try the chocolate-grand marnier tart. MAN is that good! Toe-curlingly so. Made us positively swoon.
Yes, I have to agree w/ all of you. On past visits everything I and my dining companions got at ECG was always wonderful. Last time I went, this past summer, the very nice wait person convinced me to order the bluefish saying theirs was not oily and if I'd had it that way before, it was not the flavor of the fish, but how it was prepared. Needless to say, I didn't like it at all -- due to its heavy/oily taste. I'd chalk this up to my just not liking the dish, but my husband's meal was no where near as good as he's remembered there in the past either.
Have been recently and not found any problems- the food was as fantastic as usual, and the waitstaff was friendly and prompt. I'm planning on going again Wed. PM, so I'll post again after that, but now you all have me worried :)