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East Coast Grill - Skip if You Like Barbecue

So I finally made it to the East Coast Grill to try their highly recommended (by CH) burnt ends sandwich tonight.

An extreme disappointment...If I were to give it a BBQ grade, I’d rate it as a gentlemen's pass (B-/C+). The East Coast Grill might be great for seafood, but there's no reason to drop by for its barbecue. Chris Schlesinger's “walk on water” barbecue holiness seems to be created by an excellent publicist.

To gauge my taste/experience in barbecue...I dine on barbecue on average 1 - 2 times a month (much to my physician's chagrin) and feel that the ribs at Uncle Pete's are true heaven and the brisket at Blue Ribbon is incredible.

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  1. right there with ya.
    i've never understood the fuss.
    however, Jake and Earte's Dixie BBQ was something completely different, that place opened my eyes to what BBQ was all about.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ScubaSteve

      I agree with you as well. I was very unimpressed with the BBQ at East Coast Grill. Blue Ribbon is my top choice for BBQ in the area.

      1. re: cheesenose

        Agreed..... 4th that...
        I cringe everytime i see it recommended to an out of towner

        1. re: hargau

          The East Coast Grill has a great reputation because it's a truly original, innovative restaurant. If you want traditional, straight-up southern BBQ, you should head to places like Blue Ribbon or Redbones. East Coast Grill food doesn't fit neatly into any category. Owner Chris Schlesinger puts bold, inspired recipes on the menu-- it's mecca for people who want something out of the ordinary.

          If you went to ECG and didn't like the way they do BBQ, that's fine. But it's unfair to condemn the entire menu based on this one category. I love the place, and always recommend it to people w/ more adventurous tastes.

          1. re: food_hyena

            very well put and couldn't agree more. i've never thought of ECG as a BBQ restaurant at all.

            1. re: food_hyena

              I'm an ECG fan, but they do tout their BBQ as "Oak Smoked Pit" 'cue, which is "perrty goood" but not authentic deep south by any stretch.

              Bottom lime, Chris' is an amazing griller and his sides are awesome. He has a great hand with the seafood and his supplier seems to be the ocean! There's plenty to keep the masses happy.

      2. Never had their burnt ends but to say all of their 'cue is bad based on a one time sampling of one item seems a little much to me. I thought their pulled pork was excellent the few times I tried it and ribs were fine as wel. However, it has been years since I have been back to verify if either item remains good.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Dax

          One thing about their pulled pork - people who don't like the heavy vinegar based type carolina style sauce will *not* like it. That seems to be the #1 complaint I've seen about it over the years "eww, its too vinegar-y"

          1. re: jgg13

            We love pulled pork with vinegary sauce, but we still didn't enjoy that dish at ECG. I wish I could be specific about what was off about it, but it's been a really long time since we tried that dish. I do remember dry ribs and brisket - overall not good in my opinion. I did like the rib from hell, though.

            I do like the other dishes at ECG - especially the spicy ones - but for bbq, it's the back yard or blue ribbon for us.

            1. re: lisa13

              In all honesty I don't really care for ECG that much anyways, at least for regular meals. What I *do* like (quite a bit) are the brunch menu and their special events (e.g. hell night). I like their ribs in general although it should be noted that they came in 3rd (out of 3) at their rib cookoff.

          2. re: Dax

            Fair point Dax. When I first moved here in 1998, I went to the East Coast Grill regularly (I had purchased their cookbook "The Thrill of the Grill" years before so was happy to go to the restaurant). My main order was their Uncle Bud's trio...which as you probably know is a sampler of their barbecue (ribs, brisket, and pulled pork I believe).

            I completely stopped going to the East Coast Grill once I discovered Uncle Pete's and Blue Ribbon.

            I was only lured back to the ECB by all of the positive comments on this board about their burnt ends sandwich.

          3. I agree unless their Wet Bone is considered BBQ - that's a don't-miss food revelation!

            1. I'm not generally a brisket fan, and I have noticed a disturbing inconsistency regarding the regular ribs (not the wet bones) at ECG, but in my opinion their pulled pork in the best in the city. Smoky, tender, moist, and just lightly dressed in Eastern N.C.-style vinegar sauce. Haven't had the burnt ends.

              1. So you like the ribs and Pete's and brisket at Blue Ribbon, and you're comparing that to the burnt ends sandwich at ECG. And you still give it an above average grade, but I should skip it? Okaaaaaaay.

                Never heard of Chris Schlesinger, I only know I like the BBQ at East Coast Grill. And I agree on the wetbones. Not my all around BBQ fav in town, but it is good. Yes, I do like the seafood there as well.

                1. As is evidenced by virtually every discussion of barbecue on every chowhound forum, barbecue is a very personal thing, and never will you find consensus about what constitutes good barbecue. I'm totally with you on your views of Uncle Pete's and Blue Ribbon, but I also love the burnt ends sandwich (which I top with inner beauty) at ECG.

                  1. Who the heck is Chris Schlesinger? I just know I love some wet ribs and a tuna taco.

                    I'll take some heat here as I recently recommended the burnt end sandwich at ECG on a thread. While I enjoy ribs and pulled pork at Blue Ribbon, I absolutely detest the brisket there - dry, flavorless, practically leathery. Hey, if that's what you prefer, I can see how a moist, juicy, flavorful, crusty burnt ends sandwich at ECG might not work for you.

                    13 Replies
                      1. re: jgg13

                        and he's actually a really friendly guy, and I don't eat BBQ ("who the heck"...)

                        1. re: gini

                          I never found good brisket at a restaurant in Boston. Most places trimmed their brisket way too much. I don't want total lean in brisket.

                          1. re: Dax

                            There is of course the argument that there is *no* good Q in Boston :)

                            1. re: jgg13

                              There once was a great place to get brisket, but Kenton "Jake" Jacobs is no longer plying his pit.

                              In his day, Jake made some phenomenal Austin-style Texas brisket that he spent a lifetime perfecting. Many folks remember his last venture, Jake's Boss BBQ in JP next to Doyle's, but I loved the place he opened for a all-too-brief run in the fall of '94 on the Lynn border. I forget the name, but I will never forget the brisket. Heaven!

                              1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                                I forgot about Jake's Boss. His brisket was a little hit or miss, but when it was on, it was on.

                                I had some good brisket this weekend in Austin at Sam's (did not feel like driving to Lockhart this time). It's on the left.


                                1. re: Dax

                                  That's what I'm talking about! Nice picture and damn you.

                                  1. re: Dax

                                    Wow, it looked great. reminds me it is time for a visit and a side trip to Lockhart and Luling! (Where is Sam's?)

                                      1. re: Dax

                                        Thanks for the info. Have added it to list for next Austin pilgimage.

                                  2. re: Bob MacAdoo

                                    Jake is doing catering and some events; I saw him and his rig at the Boston Jazz Fest last Fall on Columbus ave and got some food and a business card. His place in JP was excellent as was the place across from GE in Lynn in the 90's, really inspired me to learn to BBQ myself.

                                    1. re: PaulB

                                      Please pass along contact info!

                                      And Dax, nice close-up!

                            2. There's obvs a difference between BBQ (slow cooked over low heat) and grilling (cooked quickly over high heat). ECG's BBQ is fine, but it's never been what I go for, b/c grilling has always been their focus, and they do it really well.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: franksnbeans

                                I guess they would otherwise be known as ECBBQ.

                              2. I'm so glad you shared your thoughts, we went to ECG and both ordered bbq and really disliked everything we ate. I didn't report back because I thought there was something wrong with the night/us as it is so highly acclaimed here.

                                1. If this were my post I would have entitled it "Skip if you like authentic southern BBQ". ECG has decent BBQ but it is not a BBQ joint, it is an inventive, unique resteraunt that combines seafood and defeinelty passable BBQ.