Let me say that Johnson City’s newest wing joint, East Coast Wings & Grill, has shown remarkable courage in joining the highly competitive Johnson City restaurant scene. Further bravery was evidenced by their setting up shop at the down-slope end of the Kohl’s parking lot.
East Coast Wings & Grill caters primarily to a young adult, young family clientele in a casual setting. Their customers are looking for a clean, well-managed and staffed restaurant serving good food at a fair price.
The dine-around bunch decided to give East Coast Wings & Grill a try one recent Friday evening. The restaurant was not busy, being about half-full when we were seated. Though the table had been cleared, I asked for another wipe down to make sure it was clean.
Our server, let’s call her Ms. X, arrived shortly after the wipe down. After giving some obviously knowledgeable but brusque answers to each of our several questions about items on the menu, Ms. X was efficient, almost deliberately so in taking our orders.
This was followed by a wait of 20 minutes, enlivened by an East Coast Wings & Grill Insanity Wing Challenge at the next table. Two linebacker-sized gentlemen, one bald and one not, having first signed the Insanity Wing Challenge waiver, were being gloved by their server under the watchful eye of a management type. Once properly attired, the two linebackers were presented with a single hot wing each.
“One?” I mouthed at the management-type and got a feral smile in return.
With a crowd gathering to watch, the bald one went first. As he brought this self-inflicted rite of passage to his lips, I’d swear I saw the chicken wing raise its dukes at him. The other linebacker took courage and downed his offering at one go. Instantly, the pair were seized by coughing, gasping and gurgling as the sauce bit into their throats. While one began downing a large tea to put the fire out, his partner headed for the restroom.
“Looks like the house wins again,” I said.
“T’was ever thus,” said the Carnivore.
As the crowd dispersed, our orders arrived. I had chosen the California wrap-ini ($7.69) and enjoyed how the East Coast chefs had packed a tasty mix of brown rice, black beans, onions, mushrooms, two kinds of cheese and tomatoes into a flour tortilla, then grilled it perfectly. The ranch-amole dipping sauce was not to my taste, but I made do with some sour cream and pico di gallo relish.
My dining partner enjoyed her chicken ‘n waffles Napoleon ($9.99). The batter and marinated chicken breast was seasoned correctly, and made a good centerpiece for the accompanying savory waffles and onion rings.
The Dieter wanted something Asian. Her choice of the Mongolian steak salad ($8.99) was just what she was looking for. I had a bite, and was pleased with the flavor combination provided by the sesame glazing on the sliced flank steak and the way the vinaigrette dressing complimented the veggies and crunchy noodles.
The Retiree enjoyed her pulled pork barbecue sliders ($8.79), noting that the tangy house barbecue sauce topping made a flavorful blend with the smoky taste of the pork. For my taste, the cole slaw could have used a squeeze of lemon.
The Carnivore was in his element with his ECW&G burger ($8.79), a half-pound of seasoned Angus beef (grilled rare, please) mopped in the hot wing sauce, topped with pepperjack cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion. He added a cup of chili ($1.99) as his side order.
I politely declined a proffered taste of his creation, picking up the sauce smell from across the table. The Carnivore just smiled and took another bite, wisps of smoke playing around his lips.
East Coast Wings & Grill offers a comprehensive menu that will please any palate. They have a good, though limited dessert menu to help put the fire out.
The long wait for our meals and other service issues we encountered were resolved when my dining partner and I made a follow-up visit a few days later. So go give East Coast Wings & Grill a try. The dine-around bunch and I found the food to be good, and the Insanity Wing Challenge “floor show” is a hoot.
East Coast Wings & Grill
198 Marketplace Blvd., B130
Sun-Thu 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Fri – Sat 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
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