Eat Your Fat-Ex Wife for Lunch at Coastal Cave

Coastal Cave is a quirky, mildly Asian influenced,  seafood-centric stand in Reading Terminal. The menu is scattered and strange, and I am totally into that. A lunch here could be decently healthy or really really bad for you, the choice is yours (but I choose both). Coastal Cave has a list of sandwiches whose names are as amusing as their contents are tempting.

First I tried a shrimp bisque, it was a bit spicy and had just the right amount of cream content to prevent me from feeling grossly full.

It was hard to choose from their “fat” list, a section of the menu made up of crazy combos of fried foods with mildly offensive names. It was the Fat Korean that I ended up choosing, due to the fried shrimp, Korean short ribs, kimchee, french fries, mayo and sriracha. The short rib component with its authentic marinade stood out as the most delicious. I enjoyed the contrast of the tender meat with the shrimp and french fries, but it would have fared been had they both been more crisp.

Other options include the Fat Ex-Wife, made of… fried fish and crab cake.  A joke could be made here, but I won’t go there.

If you like the fusion but want to avoid the friedness, they also have a bunch of banh mis. These would be much more friendly to your diet. They come with fresh tasting pickled daikon, carrots, jalapenos, cucumber and cilantro. I went for the crab salad banh mi, I can’t be sure, but it seemed to be made of a mix of real crab meat and the fake stuff, which is a smart idea. The sandwiches would have to be a lot more expensive if made exclusively from real crab meat. This was a version of banh mi that worked for me because of its non-traditional filling. I like my meat solid, so I avoid pates which are an ingredient of your standard banh mi.

Coastal Cave has a ton more fun stuff on the menu that I didn’t get to try. They do seafood platters, raw bar stuff, and even fried oreos. But after eating one of their “fat” sandwiches, there is not much room for anything else.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Beastly fried combo sandwiches
  • And lighter more dietetic sandwiches too

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I like my fried things to be crispy
  • I don’t have a sense of humor and the names of the sandwiches offend me

Coastal Cave Trading Co., 12th and Arch, 215 627-0568



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