Latin Flavors and the World’s Largest Bloody Mary Bar

22 03 2010

Grab a partner and dance to this Cuban tune…

East Coast Grill, Inman Square

It almost feels like summer in Boston! To embrace the spirit of warmth, spontaneity, and flavor that has been injected into our lives thanks to 70 degrees of sunshine, Rene and I decided to indulge in some Latin brunch options that will have you saying, “Muy rico!” in a few minutes.

This week, we ventured out into the up-and-coming neighborhood of Inman Square, where you will find yourself surrounded by Portuguese food and flea markets, Brazilian BBQ’s and churrasquerias, and some of the most comfortable and intimate cafes, such as one of my favorites—1369  CoffeeHouse. But, one interesting spot that you should definitely check out for brunch is East Coast Grill—the name sounds American, but the bright and fresh Hispanic flavors found in the brunch menu transport you to another continent.

I recruited some assistance from the MBTA website to plan the brunch trip of the day, which is something that I recommend you to do beforehand if you are not familiar with the area. I knew that once I arrived at Park St., I would have to take the Lechmere train and then take bus 69, which I thought arrived at 10:09am at the Lechmere Station to take me to Inman Sq. As I rushed past the multitude of young girls headed to Cambridge Side Galleria with…recyclable bags? Ok, I am very proud of them for contributing to the environment, but there seemed to be something wrong with this image somehow.

Anyways, back to running. I find my brother waiting around the bus area only to tell me that the bus had left already. WHAT? It is 10:07…on the dot! How could it have left? This is where the failure of multi-tasking becomes evident. 10:09 is not the same thing as 10:05…oopzz! This detour let to a nice 25-minute walk from Lechmere to East Coast Grill, filled with laugher, stories, and some stops to check out the ethnic stores around the area. Everything happens for a reason, ladies and gentlemen. But, I am warning you to check the bus stops just in case Boston weather throws a curb ball at us.

Funky decor at East Coast Grill

If you do not know anything about East Coast Grill, I recommend you to read the very uplifting story posted on their website by the chef and owner, Chris, who opened the restaurant in 1985. We arrived at around 10:40 to find a line already forming outside of the restaurant, which opens its doors to us brunch aficionados at 11am. Once inside, the first things that I noticed were the bright green booths and blue-colored tubes decorating the walls.  We were seated near the open-kitchen, which my sidekick ended up loving because it was very interesting to see the fun interactions between the chefs and the waiters as the new orders kept the morning rolling.

We were approached by our server with an energetic, “Happy Sunday!”(this is one of those, “He had me at Hello” moment, girls!). Now, the menu is extensive, so our waiter ended up helping us with some recommendations. The top rec being the “Breakfast Platter- in the Style of the Yucatan.” What a great name! His explanation of it being a “very well-balanced meal where you can get your protein as well as be exposed to some exciting flavors” made me love the beauty of knowledgeable staff in the hospitality industry. The platter comes with 3 eggs cooked to your preference, black beans and rice, mango-avocado-hearts of palm salad, fried plantains, rojo, and warm flour tortilla. Whoa! That sounds like a champion’s breakfast! Rene was sold.

South American flavors for brunch

I, however, had been eyeing the “Cuban Reuben” (my father was very proud of this when I told him!) My half-Cuban roots played a biased-game on me today…and I am so thankful for that! This Cuban sandwich is served on a sweet yellow egg bread pressed with jack cheese, smoked sliced brisket, curtido (a type of Salvadorian cabbage relish), and chipotle aioli. Dusted fries and pickles are also served on the side, but you can substitute your fries with any of the other 18 signature small plates, featuring such things as fried yucca, grilled avocado, and sweet plantains. Having eaten way too many French fries in Hawaii let me to substitute mine for sweet potato fries served with Inner Beauty Hot Sauce, which the waiter warned me for being extremely spicy.

Best Cuban Sandwich in Cambridge...check out those sweet potatoes!


While waiting, we discovered something very unique about East Coast Grill: Be-Your-Own-Bartender! This place claims to have the world’s largest Bloody Mary bar. Now, I haven’t checked this out, but there are definitely lots of choices from which to choose. Just tell your waiter and he/she will bring you a cocktail glass, and then you can head over to the bar where you can toss celery, olives, curtido, Worcestershire sauce, and more into your spicy cocktail! I think that this could be a great starting point on Marathon Weekend…

Finally, our choices arrived. The plates are massive! Rene’s version of the Breakfast Platter reminded me of the very famous Colombian breakfast plate known as Bandeja Paisa. He could not get enough of this plate. The sweetness of the mango, combined with the eggs, the freshness of the avocado, and the flavorful beans all wrapped in the soft, warm tortilla definitely made him remember some fond memories of growing up in South America.

My Cuban Sandwich was by far the best that I have had in Cambridge and Boston overall, and my partner-in-crime definitely agreed. The portions were substantial—2 sandwiches served with cooked-to-perfection smoked sliced brisket and thick, baked sweet potatoes so sweet and delicious that other versions will never be able to top these, in my honest foodie opinion.

Ok, how are we going to eat all of this?!

I do have to warn you though that my waiter was not kidding when he cautioned me about that Inner Beauty Hot Sauce—it is MUY CALIENTE! So be careful with your dipping.

I leave you with this comment from Chris’s explanation on why his partner and he started East Coast Grill, “We were young, fearless, and had a dream of opening a restaurant.” Sometimes you just have to embrace your dreams and pursue your passions. Be Fearless this week and always!

And…some Food for Thought: Check out Restaurant Week going on around Boston NOW!: L’Espalier was definitely a favorite of mine. East Coast Grill Make your reservations today

Signing out, one brunch at a time.

East Coast Grill
Neighborhood: Inman Square
1269 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 491-6568




8 responses

23 03 2010
Fun and Fearless in Beantown

I’ve dined at ECG several times but only recently went there for brunch last month. Like you, I was definitely impressed with the food. If you like the inner Beauty Hot Sauce, be sure to make a reservation for one of their Hell Nights when everything is super spicy!

23 03 2010

Thanks, Fun and Fearless in Beantown! Sounds to me like we are going to have to stop by one of those Hell Nights…maybe we should pitch this idea to the Man vs. Food guy from the Travel Channel….he lost to food last month because of some spicy sushi that had him drinking lots of milk right after!
Who’s up for the challenge?
Until then,
Keep on brunching!

26 03 2010
Fun and Fearless in Beantown

Actually, he has gone there on his Boston Man v. Food challenge. This wasn’t the actual challenge spot but one of the restaurants he visited before. It was pretty cool!

23 03 2010

It all sounds so good! I’ll have to check this place out sometime to fill my love for Latin food.

23 03 2010

I agree! You will not be disappointed!

26 04 2010

I went to brunch here yesterday, due to your great review of it. I had the Breakfast Platter. 2 thumbs way up! The decor inspired me to go home and paint my house, and watching the guys in the kitchen work together was fun. Our waiter was really gracious as well. Nice work East Coast Grill and Brunchlove! You were right! !

26 04 2010

Thank you for your feedback! So glad that you were able to make it to East Coast Grill!I will definitely have to go back and try more of their options.
Until then,
Keep on brunching!

2 01 2011
2010 in review « 2 Siblings. 2 Palates. 1 Irresistible Love: Brunch!

[…] Latin Flavors and the World’s Largest Bloody Mary Bar March 2010 7 comments 5 […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: