Once upon a time, in the not-too-distant past, East Coast Grill was the darling of this board -- very much the (not a, but rather THE) board favorite.
But more recently (say in the last 5 years; perhaps a bit longer), many people concluded that ECG has jumped the shark, that it no longer was as fresh and excited and consistently delicious as we all once thought it to be.
Now, however, ECG has (or is soon to have) new owners -- long time ECG employees -- and I for one am wishing great success upon them. In that vein, I visited tonight for the first time in several months, and have the following comments, delivered in the hopes that some constructive feedback can help ECG return to its past glory.
Smoked n' grilled pork belly banh mi -- Ok, so I get that when ECG puts a banh mi on its menu, one shouldn't expect it to be exactly like what one would get in Chinatown or at the Super 88. Rather, I know full well that it's going to be some, hopefully creative, riff on a traditional banh mi. But using a soft sub roll rather than warm, crusty French bread is not a riff, that's just a poor product substitution. In the Vietnamese community, I understand that great care goes into selecting the proper bread to house a banh mi. It did not taste to me like the same care went into the ECG version. Also missing was the incredible crunch delivered by the plentiful Asian vegetables one expects in a banh mi. The ECG version had more of a smattering of veggies, not nearly enough to deliver that wonderful crunch. This sandwich, IMHO, needs to be completely rethought.
Crispy coconut fried catfish tacos -- Those who have spent as much time on this board as I have over the years know that Bostonians and Cantabrigians crave a good fish taco. Some want it to be just like the fish tacos one gets everywhere in San Diego; others of us just crave deliciousness, whether or not its true to the San Diego model. The ECG version wouldn't satisfy either group. The fish was lost in the heap of refrigerator cold and overly wet slaw, with too strong (at lest for my liking) of a pineapple flavor. The balance was just way off in every possible way: the balance of fish to slaw, guac and other filler, the balance of heat (hot fried fish) to cold (slaw and guac), and the balance of dry (once again, the fist) to wet (once again, the slaw).
Grilled corn on the cob -- One word of advice about serving vegetables (especially one as revered around these parts as corn on the cob) during the off season: don't.
I apologize to the new proprietors if this review sounds overly harsh; it is not intended to be. I am sincere when I say that I want ECG to be the success for the next 25 years that it was for its first. I just think it's going to take some dedication by the new owners to get it to where it needs to be.