The recent thread on the East Coast Grill (corner of Cambridge and Prospect near Central Square, Cambridge) prompted us to head back to what is one of the best dining experiences Cambridge, or Boston, has to offer. Pretty crowded for a Tuesday night, but we got in anyway without a wait (I also noticed the newly reopened Koreana was doing a robust business as we walked by).
For starters, we tried the Buttermilk Fried Oysters over Wilted Chickory with Sweet 'n Sour Bacon Vinaigrette & Old Bay Tartar Sauce ($8.50). If you like extremely succulent and juicy oysters, these are for you. However, personally, Id prefer them a bit more substantial and chewier. The tartar sauce didnt add anything, but the chickory and bacon was a nice touch.
From the specials menu we also tried the Local Striper Cheviche, which was served with some sort of large fried plantain (I think) chips. The cheviche was delicious and refreshing on a bed of slaw, but in contrast I thought the chips were totally overpowering. They would have done better with tortia chips, like the memorable lobster cheviche I had a while back at the Blue Room.
For a main course, we had the galleygirl-recommended Grilled White Pepper Crusted Tuna, Grilled Vegetables & a Spicy Bok Choy Salad ($23.50) and Uncle Buds BBQ Trio Platter" ($15.50), which was a medley of Memphis Style Dry Rubbed Pork Spare Ribs, Texas Style Sliced Beef Brisket and Eastern N. Carolina Shredded Pork.
The tuna was a 3 thick hunk of sashimi-grade, cooked a centimeter deep but with the center still cool to the tongue. Everything GG said it would be! However, after having had several variations on this dish recently (the Blue Room's was also very good), I am now out of this phase and resolved to stick with sashimi in the future. I think this is one fish for which Nature has the edge over even a notably talented chef.
As for the BBQ, it was excellent, at least to my non-Southern palate (and Ive only tried Redbones around here by way of comparison). The brisket was melt-in-your-mouth and the ribs meaty and tender, although I generally prefer the latter sauced (after all ribs are just a convenient way to get the sauce into your mouth!). But my favorite was the pulled pork. Ive never had pulled pork with such a strong vinegar sauce before. My wife didnt like it, but Im really into sour, so I though it was great (I just finished the leftoversthe portions are pretty sizablea few minutes ago!).
One advantage ECG has over Redbones, although true carnivores might disagree, is the more substantial nature of the sides. I really need something to cut all that meat! So I was happy to see substantially more than two spoonfuls of baked beans and a couple of strands of creamy slaw here. However, the sides (and also the huge hunk of cornbread), while good, were basically utilitarian.
No room for desert, but I did have an astoundingly light pint of Brooklyn Pilsner, which I noted for future reference would be very good beer for a hot day on the dock.