Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pat is in the Details

The fish tacos I had for dinner Friday night at Nick's Cove on Tomales Bay were so good I was tempted to order them again Sunday morning at brunch, but the "you must be kidding" look I got from across the table made me pick eggs Benedict instead. Thus bullied into choosing conventional breakfast fare, I skulked off to the open kitchen to watch the cooks.
"Do you make your own hollandaise sauce," I asked, realizing the absurdity of the question as soon as it left my lips. Every head in the kitchen snapped around as if jerked -- hard-- by invisible cords. I had just won "Stupidest Customer Inquiry of The Week." Bottled hollandaise sauce in a Pat Kuleto kitchen? Not very damned likely.

"These just came out of the oven 10 minutes ago," an adorably baby-faced cook said, holding up a pan of big, flaky biscuits that would take the place of the more common English muffins. Then he turned back to the cooktop and cracked eggs into the poaching water, and I scurried back to my seat, knowing that those eggs would soon be headed my way.

Less than five minutes later the eggs you see in the photo were placed in front of me. What you can't see is that nestled between the Hollandaise-swathed egg and the meltingly tender biscuit is a mound of sweet fresh crabmeat.

And look at the color of the egg yolk. The flavor of truly fresh eggs is so splendid it makes you want to swear off supermarket eggs forever. Quite simply, these were the best eggs Benedict I've ever eaten. And a reminder that even the simplest dishes can be supremely satisfying when attention is paid to each component detail.
(Of course, sitting on a porch alongside Tomales Bay, with sun sparkling on the water and kayaks gliding by, makes any meal more memorable, but I've had many a mediocre meal at restaurants with great views.)

Is is so much to ask that someone at Nick's deliver me an occasional meal in this little red truck? I live a mere two hours away.


katiez said...

It's been far too long since I've had Eggs Benedict... They look wonderful. On the other hand I have no idea what's in a fish taco... and my imagination is not doing a good job (fish sticks and taco sauce?)

lmc said...

the eggs look just perfect; all of it, really.

eggs benedict is my breakfast of choice when it is available to me.

nicole said...

I love T. Bay -- on a sunny day, there's nothing like it.

Rose said...

Oh, this post pulls me very hard in two different directions. On the one hand, I've been excited to try Nick's Cove for a while and you make it sound as good as I had hoped.

On the other hand, I was extremely frustrated when I tried to eat there recently. I called the day of to inquire about walk-in seating, and a friendly gentleman said that they save nearly half their tables for walk-ins and as long as we arrived around 5pm, or came later around 8pm, we should have no trouble being seated.

When we arrived just after 5pm after an hour's drive, the young woman at the door gave us a cool look and informed us that they are currently booking up nearly a month in advance. When I explained what I'd been told just hours earlier, she conceded that they do have such tables, but that two large parties had already claimed all of them and nothing would be available for the rest of the night. The room, by the way, was almost completely empty.

I don't quite know what was going on, but something didn't feel right. I could have understood if they had no seating right away, but none for the rest of the night?

Possibly a bunch of people with inside contacts nabbed all the spots, or they do informally save seats for "special people." Either way, the polite thing would have been to discourage us from driving out there. Another possibility is that they deemed us somehow unworthy of their establishment. We weren't really dressed up, but we certainly didn't look shabby (and it is west Marin after all)!

Anyway, we left with a bit of a bad taste in our mouth. Mostly from tasting frustration instead of the food!

Casey said...

Aaaaarrrggh, Rose. How unpleasant. I think you ought to look at their website and find a contact name and e-mail and tell the story exactly the way you did here. I'm a BIG believer in giving restaurants feedback--negative AND positive.
I've become very wary of counting on promises of walk-in seating *anywhere.*

Renzo said...

Who's that good looking chef at the stove at Nick's. It is August Schuchman.

Signed, Malcolm Moore

halcyondays said...

You will write 57 times on the blackboard:

"Pat Kuleto makes his own EVERYTHING"

chepet said...

Pat Kuleto doesn't make his own "ANYTHING"... He hires baby faced wonderboys to do it for him.

Anonymous said...

Digital Memory sure is becoming cheaper and cheaper and cheaper. I'm curious as to when we will finally reach the ratio of 1c to 1 Gig.

I can't wait for the day when I will finally be able to afford a 20 TB drive, lol. But for now I guess I will be satisfied with having a 32 gigabyte Micro SD Card in my R4i.

(Posted by SeKu for R4i Nintendo DS.)