While I have lived in the Northeast for most of my life, I spent several formative years living in Florida and grew up traveling extensively in the South. These experiences gave me a real taste for regional foods found in those places, like key lime pie, mahi-mahi and plantains. So when I finally ate at East Coast Grill, it’s no surprise that in some ways, it felt like home.
I’ve probably walked past East Coast Grill in Inman Square dozens upon dozens of times. And as a total seafood-lover, I really don’t know what took me so long to have dinner there. The no-reservation policy for parties of less than five people definitely scared me away a bit, but a new policy has been put in place that allows smaller groups to snag a table in advance.
East Coast Grill brought back so many memories of fish and barbecue joints I’ve eaten at throughout Florida and the South. The fish on the walls, the hospitality and the kitschy plastic mermaids in the drinks almost made me feel like I was vacationing somewhere warm despite it being a chilly winter day when I dined there.
To drink, I ordered the Mirambeau Bordeaux Blanc, which went perfectly with the seafood I was soon to consume. My husband Mike started with the house margarita on the rocks with salt and really enjoyed it. But the real star of the beverage show was a perfectly made dark ‘n’ stormy that was recommended by a Beat reader!
We both loved that pickled vegetables were offered to start instead of the typical bread (though I am a self-professed carb-lover). They were a light, yet satisfying way to start the meal. A special appetizer of chargrilled oysters with cayenne parmesan butter, thyme and grilled bread caught our eyes immediately, so we had to order it. It turned out to be so flavorful and was just the right size to whet our appetites before the main course.
Several people had recommended the grilled mahi-mahi with Latin spice, rice and beans, grilled avocado, pineapple salsa and fried plantains, so I knew I had to order it. And I loved every single bite. The fish was flaky and moist, the grilled avocado stuffed with pineapple salsa was fresh and light, the perfect complement to the sweet fried plantains, which were tender and not the slightest bit greasy. I loved the beans and rice too–they were tender, had terrific flavor and weren’t dry, as so often happens with this dish. After dining on the mahi-mahi, I can see why so many people said this meal was not to be missed and I have to agree.
Mike ordered a delicious swordfish main course that was a special that night. The fish was cut thick, had a lovely crisp crust and tender inside. It was a great dish, but nothing could compare to the mahi-mahi. Next time, I’d love to try more of the seafood entrees and some of the barbecue. Everyone around us ordered the cornbread, so that is a must as well for the next visit.
We still had a little room, so we split the key lime pie for dessert. It was tangy and tart, just the way I like it. The crust (regular pie crust, not graham cracker, as I’ve often had) was flaky and a nice contrast to the custard-like pie filling. The only thing I would change is the strawberry and mango sauces that came with it–I thought they weren’t necessary and would ask for the pie without them next time.
East Coast Grill also serves lunch on Saturday and brunch on Sunday. Those menus both look divine and I think I’ll be back soon to try the catfish po’boy, one of my favorite sandwiches. But what East Coast Grill is really known for is its annual Hell Night event, which actually took place last week (reservations went fast last month). To attend next year, watch the Facebook page for instructions on when and how to snag one of the highly coveted tables.
Images courtesy of East Coast Grill.