This hummus plate appetizer includes house-made hummus, warm pita squares, fruit, vegetables, cheese and candied walnuts. The Mouth found both the quality and quantity of ingredients pleasing.
In my grade school gym class I was always the last one picked when choosing up sides for sports. The only thing worse than my hand-eye coordination is my relative lack of aim, and when forced once to play indoor soccer, I stood, rigid and wincing, praying the ball might just hit my foot and bounce off in the appropriate direction. I canít play basketball or baseball, I canít swim worth a darn, and I certainly canít golf. But something Iím really, really, exceedingly good at? Eating delicious food while watching other people golf.
The Peninsula Golf Course on the Long Beach Peninsula has been delighting duffers since 1974, and now its recently remodeled clubhouse delights diners as well. Jim Eaton and Sondra Nash-Eaton have put a tremendous amount of work into this casually upscale space, and their in-house restaurant, The Cove, is a true treasure, whether you golf or not.
I recently visited The Cove for lunch, was greeted warmly and quickly by our server, and seated at one of the many large windows overlooking the green. Drinks were dispatched immediately, including beer from a popular local favorite, Fort George Brewery. As an appetizer, I first sampled the hummus plate, with house-made hummus, warm pita squares, fruits, vegetables, cheeses and candied walnuts. The beautiful plate looked almost too good to eat, but eat it, we did, and I was very pleased with both the quality and quantity of ingredients. The array of fruits included succulent strawberries, apple slices and orange wedges, plus broccoli, tomatoes, red peppers and an assortment of cheeses. The hummus had the pleasing tang of tzatziki, and the pita squares were crisp but soft on the inside.
As a second appetizer I selected the Greek chicken flatbread Ė I just couldnít get enough of that tzatziki taste, I suppose. Grilled chicken breast, kalamata olives, lettuce, tomato and feta cheese were served up hot atop house-made flatbread, and served with a fresh green side salad. Each bite was bursting with flavor. My only complaint is that I didnít particularly think the flatbread needed any lettuce, as it didnít enhance the flavor, but it certainly didnít detract from it, either. Again, I was impressed with the quality and overall presentation of the dish, with the appearance that each item had been hand selected and perfectly placed on the plate with care.
I couldnít pass up a pulled pork sandwich, with slow-cooked pork piled on a buttery brioche bun, plus sweet potato fries, coleslaw and a side of barbecue sauce. The pork was succulent and tender, and the homemade barbecue sauce was so tangy and tasty that I dumped the lot of it over the top of the sandwich and devoured it as if Iíd never seen food. The sweet potato fries were that perfect combination of crisp and tender, and the cole slaw, which is also house-made, was crisp, fresh and the perfect accompaniment to an excellent sandwich.
A fellow diner raved about the ďbogeyĒ burger, a 1/3-pound beef patty with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayo on a brioche bun, with house-made potato chips and a dill pickle spear. As The Mouth, I am often asked where to get a great burger, and I am happy to add the bogey burger from The Cove to that list. The flavorful handmade patty was juicy, and the toppings adequate and perfectly balanced.
I simply cannot gush enough about the high quality of food and service I enjoyed at The Cove, and it further underlines my theory that food neednít be ďfancyĒ in order to earn rave reviews. Though the menu at The Cove is rather short at one page, each dish has clearly been carefully planned and prepared, and each one is as excellent as the next. I so much prefer to see a restaurant adopt this practice, of having a small but well-rounded, well-executed menu, than several pages of mediocre offerings. The Cove knows its strengths and works to them very well, and for this I commend them.
I could say the food is a hole-in-one, that everything was up to par, or that itís a great place ďforeĒ lunch, but that would be corny, even for me. So instead, Iíll simply say that I highly recommend The Cove for lunch anytime you find yourself on the Long Beach Peninsula, and I look forward to visiting on a Friday or Saturday evening, when a separate dinner menu is featured.