Went with my beloved for barbecue at the East Coast Grill the other night. We couldn't help comparing the sampler to Rouge's, where we've eaten a lot of 'cue lately:
Pulled pork, Carolina style -- my spouse likes Rouge's; I prefer ECG's just a mite, for its tangier sauce and stringier, coarser texture.
Brisket, Texas style -- ECG wins hands-down. Better flavor, not at all dry like the last brisket I had at Rouge, and a better finishing sauce.
Pork spareribs, dry-rubbed Memphis style -- again, my nod has to go to ECG, though this was the closest call.
Slaw -- another split vote, though both are very good.
Cornbread -- Rouge's easily beats ECG's, which is big and bland and lacking corn flavor.
Beans -- ECG's are fine, but seem sweeter than Rouge's. Not sure which is more authentic, but I prefer Rouge's.
Both remain in my top-5 list for local 'cue. ECG's atmosphere is livelier and waitstaff sassier, but we get attentive service at both. Both feature outstanding bartending, with ECG offering a superior margarita and Rouge kicking butt with its house-infused blackberry vodka Gimlet. Both have very fair prices: too much fine barbecue on the sampler plate for <$20.
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