Before going out to dinner last night I checked the blog a few times because I couldn't believe I had never written about East Coast Grill. The restaurant is located in the heart of Inman Square, the neighborhood my father worked in for nearly 20 years and where I lived for my first two years post-college. I have dined there countless times.
I love the East Coast Grill. I love the vibe, which you get as soon as you walk by. The signage boasts Dixie BBQ and a "powerful" raw bar:
We had a great view of these signs as we waited outside for a table for over an hour. Since it was Friday night I expected a wait, but we were definitely starving by the time we were seated at 8:30pm.
We were seated on the left side of the restaurant in a nice booth. On the divider between us and the table on the other side was an array of hot sauces - a sign of things to come.
The friends I was dining with had never been to East Coast Grill before and were overwhelmed by all the great choices on the menu. While we tried to make some decisions, our waitress brought us some house made pickles to much on.
We started off with some drinks. There was a beer special for the Mexican beer Tecate, which one of my friends ordered and I ordered the Raspberry Rum Lime Rickey. One of my favorite parts of eating at the East Coast Grill is that every drink comes with a neon plastic animal - alligators, monkeys, camels, sharks. When our drinks arrived they had no animals! I said to the waitress, "Excuse me, can we please have our animals?" She looked stunned and said, "Sure, I can get you some." I was so surprised because every other table that received drinks after us (I was watching) had animals in their drinks. No sure what the disconnect was there, but glad it got remedied. Here are our drinks after they received the proper garnish:
To start, my friends ordered the Thai Style Crispy Lobster, which was a special appetizer that night. They said it was perfectly crisp and that the flavor combination of the accompaniments on the plate was superb.
For dinner, someone tried another one of the specials, the Jerk Grilled Atlantic Swordfish which came with papaya salsa, avocado and tomato salad and garlic fried yuca. He could not stop raving about how amazing his entire meal was.
I had what is indisputably the best vegetarian offering in the entire city of Boston. East Coast Grill's "All Vegetable Experience of the Day" is literally every vegetable side dish they serve in the restaurant, all on one plate. Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice and beans, grilled vegetables, plantains, garlic greens, avocado and tomato salad, corn bread and of course, a slice of watermelon. There is absolutely no way one person can finish this. Probably not even two or three people. Makes for some nice leftovers!
East Coast Grill is an awesome place for a group dinner. I've been with as many a six people and it's always more fun when you can order a few plates and pick off each other's selections. East Coast Grill also makes parking easy with their own $5 lot across the street.
For those who like hot and spicy food, you should also know that East Coast Grill hosts an event a few times a year called "Hell Night." On these nights you have to sign a waiver before dining and then you can sample food that is designed to test your heat tolerance. It's basically the "Fear Factor" of food.
If you've never been, absolutely check out East Coast Grill at 1271 Cambridge Street in Inman Square in Cambridge.