Oh, I've been there four times already. You can read about my first experience and my fourth experience, if you'd like.
The Hell that I'm referring to, of course, is East Coast Grill's favorite punch to your stomach, the once-every-few-months Hell Night. Attendance at Hell Night typically requires sitting with a finger on redial for an hour before (hopefully) snagging a reservation for a night of pain. I've done it four times and loved it; might as well make it five! I felt a bit guilty grabbing a ticket for this one; Mystery Meets sell out fast, and I've already been to two Mystery Meets and four Hell Nights. I didn't feel guilty enough to not buy the ticket, though! If you haven't heard of Mystery Meets, by the way, they're monthly dinner events with mystery locations - and sometimes other mysterious elements, like the blind dining one - with clues released in the weeks leading up to the sale of tickets. When you buy a ticket, you may have a good idea of where you'll be eating, but you won't know for sure until the day before the event. The clues for this one were a dead giveaway:
- If you can’t take the heat, get your ass outta the kitchen. ("I wonder if it's Hell Night," I thought to myself. "That'd be awesome!")
- No, seriously. It’s going to be hot. You’ve been warned. ("Oh, it's totally Hell Night. Should I go? Should I take a break this time? After all, I was just there last month. But I'm addicted to ghost chili. Yeah, I should probably try to get tickets. My addiction needs feeding.")
- Adam Richman was here. (After Wikipedia-ing "Man v. Food", Adam Richman's show, I saw that there was only one Boston episode. He visited Eagle's Deli - nope, nothing spicy there, The Barking Crab - nothing spicy that I know of and not a likely Mystery Meet destination, and...bingo...East Coast Grill.)
- Milk = $5/glass. (Yep.)
Since this was a Mystery Meet, it was slightly different than a typical Hell Night. In fact, East Coast Grill is now offering Hell Night for private parties, so this was an example of what that's like. (Spoiler alert: It's not quite as cool as the real thing, but it's still pretty awesome.) First of all, it was lovely to finally meet Bianca (Confessions of a Chocoholic), along with the rest of our table: Tracey (40-Something Life), Frank (The Earnest Life), and Frank's wife Adriana (Today's iPhone). It was also nice to see some fellow bloggers from afar: Amanda (Tales from a Kitchen Misfit), Nicole (I am a honeybee), and Jacki (Just Add Cheese!). (Hope you all had a wonderful time!)
|Light-up lava mural!|
|Signing away my life...|
|East Coast Grill makes killer mojitos.|
|Russian Roulette Style Spicy Meatball Challenge with Angry Tomato Sauce (2 bombs to 8 bombs): one meatball per person. Some are very mild, some are very hot. Mine had the distinct taste of Scotch bonnet and stayed with me for awhile, but it wasn't quite as insane as the one I got last time. I'd say this was about a 5.5-bomb meatball. Joel also got a pretty spicy one; the rest of the table got mild meatballs.|
|We kind of wimped out and ordered cornbread to provide relief from the wings.|
|Helpful, but not sufficient. If you plan on taking out contact lenses or touching body parts that are important to you, wash your hands multiple times, preferably with a good dish detergent to get the oils out.|
There was a spicy pork chop option and a mild mahi-mahi option. Most of us went with the pork.
|Mango-Berry Crisp with Fresh Whipped Cream (0 bombs): A spicy dessert would have been awesome - a dark chocolate/chili combo, perhaps? - but this was light and refreshing, and the ice cream provides sweet relief after all the heat.|
Overall, this was a fun experience; it's always interesting to sit down to an adventurous meal with total strangers. Compared to regular Hell Nights, though, this seemed a bit watered down. First of all, you're missing out on the energy of the whole restaurant being decorated for the occasion, packed full of excited people, with chili pepper-laced smoke wafting out of the kitchen and Dr. Pepper making his rounds. Also, for the Mystery Meet, the famous Pasta from Hell was not available, and the pace was more relaxed - one appetizer at a time - whereas during a regular Hell Night, everything arrives at a frenetic pace. The bombs on the Mystery Meet menu seemed to be overestimates; the only really spicy dish was the wings.
I think it's awesome that East Coast Grill is making this modified Hell Night available for private parties...and I kinda want to do it for my next birthday...but I would highly recommend partaking of the real experience if possible. No dates have been announced for the next Hell Night yet, but the last one was in December, so keep an eye out in February/March.