***This week, My Travel Hats is having its own Restaurant Week, in which I’ll feature a not-to-miss, must-dine eatery in select cities.***
Across the Charles River of Boston, there lies a nice little community of Cambridge, where some of the smartest scholars in the country come to teach and do research (Harvard and MIT). How do they feed their brains? I’d like to believe, if they are truly smart, that they go to East Coast Grill.
And if you’re a smart visitor, you’ll skip the touristy gooey clam chowdahs and lobster rolls on stale bread for East Coast Grill’s version of Clam & Corn chowder with sweet potatoes and chiles. (Of course, you can be dumb and eat there too – but if you’ve chosen to go there, clearly you are intelligent.)
This little casual pocket on Cambridge Street in Inman Square has arguably the best oysters in town, along with a complete raw bar, seafood platters and a grill pit. It’s a chill atmosphere, where the smoky air smells like hickory and beef and Handi-wipes are a necessity. Combining New England seafood with southern grill and meats, this dinner-only and Sunday-brunch joint leaves you heartily filled, content and happy. Try a dozen PEI oysters and a platter of fall-off-the-bone spare ribs, Memphis style. Or perhaps some local Jonah crab claws and a 1/2 chicken, spit-grilled. It’s where comfort food came to grow up. Reservations are accepted on Sundays through Thursdays for parties of five or more, but it’s first-come, first-serve on the weekends. Be prepared to wait, as it’s a popular restaurant, but all that waiting ideally makes you hungry, which is essential. Start with a drink from the bizarre tiki lounge.
Address: 1271 Cambridge St., Cambridge, Mass. 617-491-6568
Price: Entrees are $15-$27.
Dress code: Jeans-and-Tshirt. Watch for splashes of BBQ sauce.
Directions: Take the Red Line to the Central Square T-Stop. When you come out to the street, head down Prospect St. Follow Prospect St. to the 5th light. Turn left at the 5th light onto Cambridge St.