Cove to Table: Simple Seafood Recipes from Tomales Bay’s Nick’s Cove
One half of the couple behind the restaurant highlights Northern California coastal cooking in her cookbook, ‘Table With a View.’
Achingly beautiful Tomales Bay sits at the nexus of so much that embodies the Northern California culinary dream—abundant seafood, artisanal cheese, organic farms on picturesque rolling hills with views of the sea—and Nick’s Cove and Cottages is where it all coalesces on a perfectly ramshackle jetty jutting out into the sea.
Ever since a Croatian immigrant named Nick Kojich opened a little seafood restaurant in an old herring-curing facility and started renting out waterfront cottages by the night, road trippers on Highway 1 have had a place to eat shrimp cocktail, gaze out at the water, and enjoy a view that’s barely changed for 90-some years. But what has changed is the quality of the food, an evolution jumpstarted in the late 1990s when Bay Area restaurateurs Pat Kuleto and Mark Franz bought Nick’s, restored it, and elevated the offerings. Not only does Nick’s now have its own farm that produces many of the vegetables on the menu, within 100 miles you’ve also got some of the best purveyors in the United States, many of which round out the building blocks of the dishes at the restaurant: Hog Island Oysters, Liberty Ducks, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, Cowgirl Creamery, County Line Harvest, and the list goes on.
Today Nick’s is owned and run by locals Dena and Hans Grunt. Dena’s new book, Table With a View: The History & Recipes of Nick’s Cove (Cameron Books; $30), chronicles the history of Nick’s and collects the recipes they’ve served over the years. It’s Northern California coastal cooking: lots of seafood, salads, Asian and Mexican influences, and a heavy dose of Alice Waters-style produce-first deliciousness. Think warm mushroom and arugula salad with poached egg, or oysters Nickerfeller—Pacific oysters spiked with buttery greens and shredded Toma, a local farmstead cheese. Here Dena shares a few recipes from the book so you can bring Nick’s serene seaside getaway vibes into your kitchen and home.