Nick’s Cove: Winding Our Way to Standout Seafood

Restaurant Tomales Bay

Nick's Cove has become an oyster resort on Tomales Bay.

It’s hard to imagine a more pristine setting that the patio at Nick’s Cove a restaurant that overlooks Tomales Bay and anchors a renovated colony of cabins-turned-suites. Nick and Frances Kojich, along with Andrew and Dorothy Matkovich, originally developed a waterfront slice of Blake Ranch beginning in 1931. The Gibson family owned the land from 1973 to 1999, when prominent Bay Area restaurateur Pat Kuleto took over and eventually installed an ambitious, seafood-focused restaurant in 2007. In an area rife with oyster beds and seafood shacks, Nick’s Cove definitely stood out.

We entered a door with a Trident handle befitting Neptune, passed by a fireplace and a number of wall mounted heads (moose and deer) and sat at a table on the restaurant’s covered patio, with unobstructed views of the water, pier and passing boats. As we learned from an available signal on Matt’s WiFi finder, and later confirmed at The Boat, we were also dining within shouting distance of the Hog Island Oyster Co. beds. Sitting by the bay was so calming that even the endless ’80s soft rock couldn’t phase me. “I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight” and “Arthur’s Theme,” do your worst.

Pier Tomales Bay

Diners also have the option to walk a 400-foot pier that overlooks Tomales Bay.

Restaurant Tomales Bay

Boat Shack has a limited menu, a phone that connects with the restaurant and a very necessary fireplace.

During our visit, the rafters housed a bird’s nest filled with chirping baby birds. Their mother frantically darted in and out of the shack until we left the building.

Most everything was produced locally at Nick’s Cove, except for the bread.

Bread Tomales Bay

They serve warm La Brea Bakery bread slices with local creamery butter and a Hawaiian sea salt sprinkling.

Chef Adam Mali wasn’t the opening chef, but he seems to have adjusted nicely to his seafood-centric post. Tomales Bay Clam Chowder ($10) was a welcome change from the normal oceanic spackling paste that afflicts lesser restaurants.

Clam Chowder Tomales Bay

Creamy soup contained plenty of Manila clams, leeks, potatoes, parsley and crisp applewood smoked bacon bits.

Seafood Tomales Bay

House Cured Boquerones ($9) featured local anchovy fillets, salty but juicy, plated with a salad of celery, thin-shaved French breakfast radishes and cucumbers, frisée and tangy Meyer lemon olive oil.

Oysters Tomales Bay

Since nearby waters are rife with oysters, we ordered Crispy Fried Drake’s Bay Oysters ($12), which were lightly battered, allowing the creamy, salty meat to shine. A lemon squeeze and a quick dip in housemade tartar sauce added more to every bite.

Oysters Tomales Bay

Grilled Oysters Nick-erfeller ($16), a clever, lighter play on Oysters Rockefeller, involved six oysters resting in a luxurious meld of tarragon, butter, Pernod and oyster juice.

Oyster Sign Tomales Bay

We paid the bill, which arrived in an abalone shell, then walked outside. When grabbing my car at the valet station, we noticed an Oyster X-ing sign.

As we already knew from Nick’s Cove, even if the oysters could move, they wouldn’t stand a chance in that neighborhood.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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