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East Coast Grill versus Blue Ribbon, BBQ et al.

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East Coast Grill versus Blue Ribbon, BBQ et al.

VivreManger | Jan 25, 2004 09:28 PM

Last Wednesday did the East Coast Grill for the first time in a year or so. This was my fourth visit to the restaurant and it confirms my earlier opinion. They do much better fish than meat.

I have had a hoisin tamarind fish there in the past that was superb. This last visit I had the tuna, jicama, lime tortilla and it is a fantastic dish. On the other hand I tried two BBQ dishes -- Uncle Bub's (sp??) with offers pulled pork, ribs, and brisket -- and a taste of my nephew's chicken and both plates were disappointments.

Let us start with the good things. The tuna was a welcome relief from the standard issue ubiquitous sushi quality dish that decorates many menus. At Empire in Providence -- no longer in business and in my opinion not to be lamented -- I had a tuna sashimi salad that was too dull for words -- even the accompanying potato salad, a weird touch, was bland. I have read the praises of the tuna tortilla and I thought it worth a try. The combination of nearly raw tuna, julienned jicama, and lime juice combines fleshiness, cruchiness, and tangy acidity, a lovely sequence of tastes and textures. When wrapped in a tortilla the combination is even better. I would have done well to quit at that point.

The bbq platter of three meats was not up to Blue Ribbon standards. ECG ribs were clearly inferior. The BR ribs have a wonderfully crunchy surface of crispy fat enclosing a sweet, tender band of pork on the bone. The whole experience is laced with rich bbq smokiness. The ECG rib was almost as admirably crispy crunchy, but the flesh was tough and the smokiness minimal. The brisket was better, but still not as good as BR's. This is my second tasting of ECG's brisket and neither time has it measured up to BR.

As for pulled pork, I now realize that it is best enjoyed in a bun with plenty of sauce and crunchy slaw. Simply laid out on a plate it is too bland to be a favorite of mine, particularly when the smokey flavor is so weak. I don't order pulled pork at BR so I can't offer a comparison there, but I have enjoyed a pulled pork sandwich in Birmingham, AL and another at the People's Pint in Greenfield, MA much more.

The cole slaw was fine, but nothing superb. The chicken was OK, but I think BBQ chicken is a waste -- duck is a much better fowl to slow crispy smoke. On the other hand the sides with the chicken were superb -- excellent mashed squash and delciious collard greens and chard, not traditional by any means, but reeking of butter and garlic.

Blue Ribbon is a take out with a few seats at the counter, BYOB, and lacking in amenities so the over all comparison is not fair, but rib to rib, brisket to brisket, it is superior.

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