By now, many of you have already read about the wonderful brunch enjoyed by a group of Boston bloggers at East Coast Grill this past weekend. And what a tasty meal it was.
Over 20 of us gathered in Inman Square on a mild, sunny Sunday morning. The host led us to a semi-private room behind the bar where we sat at what eventually became one very long table. We were greeted by Arthur, East Coast Grill’s brunch captain, who explained to us how our brunch would flow. First, we would enjoy a selection of four appetizers, served family style. Following that, we would choose one of three entrees.
I was excited to be seated between Bianca and Karen, two bloggers that I knew through the blogosphere, but had yet to meet in person. We chatted about Harvard Square hotspots and getting motivated to cook when it’s just for yourself while we chowed down on the first appetizer, fried sweet plantains with queso fresco and banana-guava ketchup.
The plantains were cooked beautifully–soft and nicely caramelized on the outside. The thick, creamy queso fresco and the sweet banana-guava ketchup were perfect flavor accompaniments. The soupy ketchup provided moisture alongside the thick, starchy plantain. I could probably have eaten a small bowl of the ketchup on its own. Throughout the brunch, I got to catch up with some more blogger friends who sat across from me, Justin, Robin, and Kathy.
The sweet potato fries with House Inner Beauty Hot Sauce should be called sweet potato wedges or sweet potato logs. Most of them were cooked perfectly, with tender flesh and slightly crispy edges. A couple could have been cooked a little more. They thankfully were tasty on their own, as I had no intention of trying the scotch bonnet hot sauce.
The next appetizer was a Banana Rellena–smoked pork-stuffed banana with House Inner Beauty Hot Sauce.
The last dish tied with the plantains for best appetizer, in my opinion. Monterey Jack Grits with molasses-glazed grilled banana, piña, jalapeños, toasted pecans, and crispy smoked bacon. Hot, creamy, and soupy, just the way they are meant to be, with a rich cheesy flavor. The fruit provided a tangy, juicy complement to the thick grits.
I always like a little bit of both savory and sweet, and so I was thrilled when Karen offered to go half and half on the eggs and the french toast, saving me from the travesty that would be having to choose just one. The eggs came as part of the Breakfast Platter “In the Style of the Yucatan” with cheesy scrambled eggs, black beans n’ rice, mango-avocado-hearts of palm salad, sweet fried plantains, salsa roja and a warm flour tortilla. The eggs were easily the best component of the plate. They were extremely fluffy and slightly browned, just the way I like. I did not eat many of the plantains, as I’d had several in the appetizer, and these were a tad darker than I like. The salad ended up being primarily heart of palm. I like the taste of heart of palm, but sadly I have a negative mental association with it following an incident I had with it four years ago in Costa Rica. I know, it’s weird. But thankfully, the eggs with the rice and beans and salsa was delicious and more than enough.
The cornbread crusted french toast with orange marmalade, tropical fruit and Vermont maple syrup was delicious and I was definitely glad I did not miss out on it. The toast was moist and eggy on the inside. I could not quite discern the cornbread crust, but it was delicious all the same.
I cannot thank East Coast Grill enough for their warm hospitality and standout food. I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the meal, from the service, to the atmosphere, to the food, and of course the company. My thanks as well to Renee for organizing such a lovely brunch and all of the bloggers for really making the experience.
East Coast Grill
1271 Cambridge Street