June 21, 2024
Nick’s Cove restaurant and cottages on the edge of Tomales Bay in Marshall combines unique elements that for 92 years have made it a beloved destination for a snapshot of nautical history, a seafood-dominant menu, a cocktail at the mahogany bar or a stroll around the bayside property. Until now, the multi-phase revitalization project that

Nick’s Cove restaurant and cottages on the edge of Tomales Bay in Marshall combines unique elements that for 92 years have made it a beloved destination for a snapshot of nautical history, a seafood-dominant menu, a cocktail at the mahogany bar or a stroll around the bayside property.

Chris Cosentino adds his distinctive style to barbecued oysters at Nick’s Cove in West Marin. Marc Fiorito/Gamma Nine Photography

Until now, the multi-phase revitalization project that was completed late last year and entailed renovating and refreshing the 12 original rustic-meets-luxury cottages and a dining room facelift that includes new tables, chairs, fixtures, dishes, bar tiles and paint did not incorporate the culinary program.

Last week, Nick’s Cove and its new managing partner Palm House Hospitality (San Francisco’s Palm House and the Dorian, and Flamingo Resort & Spa in Santa Rosa) announced they are partnering with celebrity chef Chris Cosentino to deliver a renewed dining experience.

Chef Cosentino, a television personality known for his Bravo network “Top Chef Masters” win and appearances as a competitor, host and judge on several other reality television cooking shows, has come on board to spearhead a simplified but cultivated menu that highlights his Rhode Island roots.

Tomales Bay clam chowder is offered two ways — dairy-free Rhode Island-style with a clear broth, and traditional creamy Boston style — and Nick’s Cove favorites such as garlic butter barbecued Hog Island oysters remain on the menu.

Cosentino smokes locally caught black cod over Sonoma pinot noir barrel shavings and blends it into a dip served with fried saltines, giving the smoked bluefish New England original the West Coast treatment, and a classic lobster roll gets an optional uplift with sea urchin aioli.

Nduja baked oysters tie into Cosentino’s claim to be the first chef to introduce nduja (spreadable salami) to the United States at his charcuterie shop Boccalone in San Francisco’s Ferry Building. The nine-year-old destination for Tasty Salted Pig Parts closed in 2017 and was an offshoot of Cosentino’s former San Francisco restaurants Incanto and Cockscomb, both of which brought him acclaim as a whole nose-to-tail, or offal, chef.

The Captain Thurston’s burger made with Stemple Creek Ranch beef and swiped with cocktail and tartar sauces is named after Cosentino’s grandfather, who was a wooden boat builder in Rhode Island. Step and it up and have it served California Gold Rush “Hangtown Fry” style by adding a fried oyster and egg.

Organic soft serve is from Straus Family Creamery and comes in a glass fishbowl or taiyaki fish-shaped cone with toppings. Other desserts include local strawberry shortcake and a s’mores tart.

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Sam Levy, operating partner of Fern Bar in Sebastopol and former bar manager at the Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena, advised on the bar offerings, adding a few cocktails including a tequila and mezcal watermelon margarita plus a gin, cucumber juice, mint and lime eastside to the list. The fresh juices, house tonics and vermouths remain, and new non-alcoholic options have been added.

Aaron Keefer, former garden manager at the French Laundry and current head farmer at Sonoma Hills Farm, is the new handler of the quarter acre hillside garden where culinary herbs and edible flowers will be plucked for salads and cocktails.

Full table service is expected to return soon, but for now, casual counter-to-table ordering that was established during the pandemic continues.

Nick’s Cove is at 23240 Highway One in Marshall. For the full menu, on-site activities and restaurant and cottage reservations, visit nickscove.com or call 415-663-1033.

Restaurant Week

If you reside on the outskirts of Mill Valley and targeted one of its downtown restaurants for a meal in the past year, it may have taken just one traffic delay caused by ongoing road construction to shift dining plans for the foreseeable future.

Rock & Rye is among the Mill Valley restaurants taking part in Downtown Mill Valley Restaurant Rally. Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal

Those roadwork days are over, and Marin Magazine and Marin Dish want to applaud free-flowing traffic and celebrate the businesses that have endured the setback with the first of what’s planned to be an annual Downtown Mill Valley Restaurant Rally from Sept. 10 to 17.

This week-long event features three-course prix fixe menus at seven downtown restaurants ($55) with some also offering a specialty cocktail for $8. In addition, one diner each night will win a gift card worth $50 toward their next visit to each location, a $350 value.

The participating restaurants are Bungalow 44, Playa, Gravity Tavern, Coho, Piazza D’Angelo, Paseo Bistro and Rock & Rye at Sweetwater Music Hall.

Check individual restaurant websites for more information and to make reservations.

Leanne Battelle is a freelance food writer and restaurant columnist. Email her at [email protected] with news and recommendations and follow on Instagram @therealdealmarin for more on local food and updates on the launch of The Real Deal Marin restaurant search guide.

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