41 South Euclid Ave.
Dinner, Wednesday through Sunday, from 5 p.m.The Coast hasn’t been open very long, but by golly those folks sure know what they’re doing. A big group of us dined there on a recent Saturday night and every dish was a success.
The decor is simple, clean, and attractive. Upon entering there is a nice bar and lounge area with pretty round tables painted a deep teal green. The dining room has a few dark azure walls, some black and white photographs, and thick ropes around the arched doorway. Each table has a pretty arrangement of flowers. The menu is very creative, heavy on fresh seafood, sushi, and sashimi.
We began our meal with pan-seared scallops, grilled tuna tidbits, miso soup, gyoza, edamame, squid jig salad, and beet salad. The scallops were excellent, caramelized on the outside, slightly rare inside. They had a hint of Indian spice, perhaps coriander. The grilled tuna tidbits were also great, enhanced with a not-too- spicy creamy horseradish sauce. Harry Reiner, one of my 13-year-old dining companions, and for sure a budding restaurant critic, declared them “elegant.”
The miso soup was good. They all taste pretty much the same to me, but this one was made a bit more special with an edamame and mung bean garnish. The gyoza (Japanese dumplings either fried or steamed), were great. The crispy wonton wrappers were filled with a flavorful pork mixture and sake soy ponzu dipping sauce gave them zing. The edamame were also very tasty and a generous portion for $5.
The squid jig salad was crazy good. The rings and tentacles were rubbed with a miso basil mixture before being grilled and were served with a mixture of julienned cucumbers, red cabbage, and carrots. The finishing touch that made this a beautiful and distinctive dish was a red beet aioli. The squiggles of bright magenta sauce tasted sweet with just a hint of garlic. The beet salad was delicious but my friend who ordered it would have liked more of the white balsamic truffle vinaigrette. The beets were served on a bed of baby arugula with candied walnuts and a warm goat cheese fritter. I wish there had been more than one; it was such a lovely combination with the peppery arugula and sweet beets.
For entrees we tried the burger, and a gazillion varieties of sushi — the Coast, Sunset, Red Dragon, and Maki spicy tuna. The Coast burger was cooked to order with a nice crunchy exterior. Harry declared, “It was so good that when I was full I still had to finish it.” The French fries served alongside were thick potato wedges, crisp outside, fluffy inside.
The Coast roll, which is made with whatever fresh local fish is available, was prepared on this evening with fluke. It was combined with avocado, tobiko (a tiny, crunchy, flying-fish roe), scallions, and a slightly spicy mayo. The Sunset roll was delicious and beautiful to behold. Spicy salmon, spicy tuna, cucumber, and avocado were wrapped in yellow soy paper with a drizzle of hot sauce on top. The Red Dragon was a combination of spicy tuna and avocado inside, tuna and red tobiko on top. It was enhanced with a sweet-tart yuzu sauce. Yuzu is an aromatic citrus fruit from East Asia similar in flavor to grapefruit and sour mandarin. Young Maddie enjoyed the Maki spicy tuna because it wasn’t too spicy for her young but sophisticated palate.
This having been a Saturday night in August, it would be an understatement to say the Coast was busy. Our party of nine was seated immediately and our waitress was outstanding. She was knowledgeable about the menu even though it changes every day, and was patient with our hemming and hawing and special requests. The crowd was a mixture of young families and jolly vacationers. One fellow at a nearby table was in such good “spirits” he felt compelled to come to our table and hug each and every one of us. Okay, well, not me, I had snuck outside to scribble my notes.
The prices at the Coast are moderate. Raw bar items, appetizers, soups, and salads are $5 to $16. Entrees are $15 to $42, sushi and sashimi $5 to $19, desserts are $7 and $8. The desserts are all made in-house. We tried the Oreo cheesecake, key lime pie, and peanut butter pie. All were excellent. The cheesecake had a light and fluffy vanilla filling with a crunchy Oreo bottom. The peanut butter pie was attacked with gusto by the children and devoured down to the tiny chocolate chips garnishing the plate. My favorite was the key lime pie, as I think a sharp citrusy finish to a light fish meal is a perfect ending. It was served as a big square, and had lots of lime flavor.
Years ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing the West Lake Clam and Chowder House. It was so good my dining companions begged me to keep it a secret so they could always get in. Well, the reason the Coast is so good is that the chefs from West Lake Clam and Chowder House, Tony Berkhofer and Dustin Schick, are behind this new endeavor.
I’m sorry, my friends, I can’t keep this one a secret either, it’s too darned good.