Eat Play Williamsburg Reviews
  • Cove Tavern

    October 28th, 2011

    Seafood Restaurant in Williamsburg, VA3701 Strawberry Plains Rd,
    Williamsburg, VA 23188

    (757) 565-5430

    An upbeat casual dining experience with the focus on great food, great service, at great prices.

    Mindy’s Review…

    Seafood SaladI wasn’t sure what to expect going to the Cove Tavern since it just opened a few weeks ago. I could tell they were making changes to the outside of the building, but I had no idea how different it would be inside (It used to be the location for The Backfin). The new decor is very warm, inviting, classy, and relaxing. They changed the entire feel of the restaurant and it looks great. You’ll be welcomed with a fireplace both inside and out and you’ll feel nice and cozy once you sit down.

    To start off the meal, they brought us two appetizers. One was Tres Amigos and one was Fried Green Tomatoes. The Tres Amigos had 3 different dips along with tortillas and plantain chips. The cheese dip in the Tres Amigos was quite tasty. The Fried Green Tomatoes were definitely a classy twist on the original and I liked that. We were overwhelmed with 4 more main dishes to try and each one was stellar. The quality of food here is incredible. The Pan Roasted Grouper was delicious. It was sitting atop black bean sauce and brown butter yams. The combination of those two sides could have been a meal all by themselves! I also enjoyed their take on fried chicken. Usually I’m not one to order fried chicken at a restaurant, so I couldn’t believe how many bites I kept taking of it even though I was so full.

    My Favorite Thing: I kept going back and forth between the Crab and Avocado Louis and the Baja Fish Tacos, but I’m going to have to say that the Crab and Avocado Louis was my favorite dish. I have never tasted or seen anything like it before. Here is the description from their menu: “Jumbo lump crab meat stacked with avocado, sweet shrimp, tomatoes, field greens and finished with caper louis dressing”.  It was creamy and delicious! I’ve never felt so impatient while Eddie was taking the photos of the dish before – that’s how appetizing it looked!

    What I would like to try next time: Chicken and Waffle (Golden ‘rad chicken breast layered on top of a sweet, double thick waffle and topped with maple syrup, cinnamon buttered apples and honey butter). I’ve had Chicken and Waffles once before and they are unique as-is, so this concoction sounds even more intriguing to me.

    Eddie’s Review…

    Grouper in Williamsburg, VATalk About First Impressions!

    There’s a new kid on the block, and this kid’s got talent. Cove Tavern just opened up a few weeks ago replacing the long time Williamsburg restaurant, The Backfin. With major modern reservations to the building and an impressive array of tantalizing and creative dishes, Cove Tavern looks like they have the skills and know-how to be here for quite some time.

    Once you walk in you can’t believe that you’re standing in the same building that was there just a few months before. It’s a complete change. Beautifully done. Warm, sophisticated and modern with unique and interesting decorations and architecture. A wooden canoe/boat on the wall and a few palm trees throughout gives a nice tropical feeling, while the wood floor and fireplaces inside and outside help establish a romantic mood. The outside deck was not finished yet when we visited, but you could envision what it would look like when it was complete – packed with people, a band playing, and everyone having a great time.

    Perusing through the menu, you see creative takes on southern, seafood and international dishes alike. Some examples are Fire Roasted Corn On The Cob, Short Order Paella, Fried Green Tomatoes and Crab and Avocado Louis – which was delicious. Let’s go in order though. We started off with their Fried Green Tomatoes – “Slow cooked stone ground grits, chorizo, cilantro crème frame and smoked red pepper coulis.” A beautiful presentation, wonderfully fried with all the delicious accompaniments. I loved the chef’s take on this. I haven’t had many Fried Green Tomatoes before, but this was my favorite. As a second appetizer, we had the Tres Amigos – “Guacomole, queso and pineapple coconut salsa served with plantain chips and home fried tortillas.” The guacamole was very good and “citrus-y”. And the queso was not the normal, out-of-the-jar queso you’re used to having at most places. This was fresh and creamy with a whipped texture and great flavor. As a salad, we had the Crab and Avocado Louis – “Jumbo lump crab meat stacked with avocado, sweet shrimp, tomatoes, field greens and finished with caper louis dressing.” This was AWESOME. Very unique and creative. A cool and refreshing dish with amazing flavor combinations and large chunks of crab, shrimp and avocado inside. We cleaned the plate immediately. The Baja Fish Cabo Tacos – “Blackened tilapia served with fresh cabbage, tomatoes cilantro aioli sauce, mandarin salsa and served with warm flour tortillas” was nicely done. Blackened perfectly and with the side items of Spanish Rice and Cowboy Beans created a nice taste and finish. My favorite dish though was the Pan Roasted Grouper – “Fresh grouper atop chorizo and black bean sauce, brown butter yams and lime crema”. Not as creative and unique looking as the Crab and Avocado Louis, but I just loved the flavors. The grouper had a nice thick meaty texture sitting atop the sweet yams and savory black bean sauce to create a magnificent dish. I really enjoyed it. Along with our dishes, the bartender brought us a couple tasty drinks to try. The Mojito with Hendrix cucumber infused gin and a slice of cucumber was very clean and refreshing. His Mango Bellini with mango purée, citrus vodka, fresh squeezed lemon juice, champagne and peach schnapps created a nice modern twist on a classic Italian cocktail. We finished off our meal with the Chocolate and Kahlua Crème Brûlée. Nice strong taste with a crunchy outside and creamy delicious inside.

    My Favorite Thing: Pan Roasted Grouper. I loved the flavors.

    What I would like to try next time: Fire Roasted Corn On The Cob – “Rolled in house made crema spiked with chillies, lime and cotija cheese” (Nacho Libre?) and the Short Order Paella – “Mussels, shrimp, white fish, sausage, paella rice and finished with tomato and saffron butter.” Mmmm.





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