This romantic spot is at the gateway to East Hampton.

Cove Hollow Tavern: Cozy, Quaint, Fresh

Bridget LeRoy

My date for the evening was none other than The Independent’s associate publisher, art director, and chief bottle roller Jessica Mackin-Cipro. We chose to dine on the early side, and the Tavern was blissfully quiet. White walls, black beams overhead, it was simply decorated, and we had the dining room practically to ourselves.

I immediately took notice of the nightly specials, such as duck cassoulet and lamb t-bones, a veal schnitzel dish, along with cioppino, a local fish and shellfish stew. However, Jessica opted for a pickled beet salad with walnuts, watercress, and goat cheese in a lemon-caper vinaigrette. I decided on pork cracklins, served with barbecue seasonings sea salt, and lime, because why not? You only live once.

Other choices that caught my eye included a smoked beef brisket sausage, a lobster remoulade slider, and a spin on the Caprese salad, with heirloom tomatoes, basil, and fresh burrata.

The cracklins were hot and fresh and delicious, just the right amount of salt, and with a squeeze of lime, interestingly original. Jessica’s salad was a delicious mash-up of the pickled beets set off by the creaminess of the chevre and the earthy crunch of the walnuts.

For my main course, I chose the Vine Street fave — malfadine pasta with mushroom Bolognese, a creamy ragu of local mushrooms. It was a wonderful substitute for those who want that meaty flavor without the meat. Jessica ordered the herbed roasted lemon chicken served with heirloom carrots and braised energy greens.

You can always tell a restaurant by how it prepares the most “boring” dish, roasted chicken, and Cove Hollow did not disappoint. While the chicken was good, the carrots and the greens were bursting with flavor and seasoning, bringing the dish all together.

Other entrees included a shellfish gumbo, potato crusted black bass, cedar plank salmon, and a Harissa lamb burger, along with steaks and ribs.

Dessert was shared: we ordered the passion fruit crème brulee, which was a little soupy, although the burnt sugar was perfect. All in all, it was a lovely evening, and by the time we left, the Tavern was packed. With a constantly updated menu according to what is fresh and what is in season, it’s worth a repeat visit.

The restaurant is open seven days a week starting at 5 PM, and offers a bar menu as well. Visit www.covehollowtavern.com to find out more.

bridget@indyeastend.com