Baron’s Cove is Sag Harbor’s premier waterfront resort with 67 village- and harbor-facing guest rooms. They love everything about catering to travelers who seek a getaway on the East End, a community like no other.
Baron’s Cove has an abundance of amenities to offer their guests, including a saltwater pool, beach service, complimentary bicycles, tennis courts, and fitness equipment. A relaxing lounge can be found at Baron’s Cove with indoor and outdoor fireplaces, rocking chairs and Adirondack chairs, and a place to watch the sunset over the harbor each night.
One of the biggest attractions about Baron’s Cove is The Restaurant located on the second floor. Hotel guests, locals, and visitors rave about the all-American dining room and fine cuisine. The award-winning restaurant uses resources from across the East End and beyond, and Executive Chef Nicholas Vogel is at the head of The Restaurant’s success.
Vogel spoke more about The Restaurant at Baron’s Cove, how he got his start in this industry, and ultimately how he found his way to Sag Harbor and what he loves most about the Hamptons community.
How would you describe The Restaurant at Baron’s Cove?
NV: The Restaurant at Baron’s Cove is a classic seafood Americana dining room offering elevated takes on beloved Long Island fare. Rooted in local connection, our restaurant sources vegetables, fish, and meats from a variety of farmers and artisans across the East End and beyond.
What are some of the must try menu items? What are your favorites to create?
NV: The crispy artichokes appetizer has been a mainstay & popular item since the first menu I created here two years ago. We have a popular “simply grilled” section of our menu and continue to offer the blackened swordfish, which is my favorite, dressed with a chimichurri sauce.
I love to create items true to the season and timing of the year. For example, preparing a fresh local fish as either a beautiful Crudo in the warmer months or as a heartier entree dish in the fall and winter.
How did you get started with your career as a chef, and why did you decide to go into this field?
NV: I have been a cook since I was 16 working in the food service in all of its facets. My aunt and uncle owned a bar & restaurant in Philadelphia when I was younger. I began working there when I was around 13 and I have fond memories of it. I got to hang out with some family, make a bit of money, and eat for free. That was my first introduction to the culinary world. I enjoy the fast-paced environment and the challenge of working within a team to succeed. I was an athlete when I was younger so some of that is ingrained in me still.
What led you to Sag Harbor?
NV: I was working in D.C. for three years prior to moving here, and I wanted to be cooking somewhere that was coastal because of my affinity for the beach. It was as much of a great opportunity career-wise as it was a lifestyle change coming to a seasonal and more rural atmosphere that I looked forward to. I really enjoy the community here in Sag Harbor.
What do you love most about the East End customers?
NV: I believe there is a great culture of locality here on the East End and respect for it as well. I think it all starts with the farmers, fishers, and artisans. We can pass along a great ingredient or product without needing or having to alter it a lot. I think the customers prefer and appreciate that.
What’s your favorite pastime or favorite part about being located on the East End?
NV: I enjoy strolling through Sag Harbor stopping in at the local businesses and restaurants where I have made many friends. Whether it is supporting them through purchases or just saying hello being social in my community is important to me. Sunsets at Long Beach here in Noyack any time of the year are great, and finding new coves, marsh, or beaches nearby is a fun pastime.
To run a restaurant, you must have to juggle a lot of responsibilities and wear many different hats. What are your strategies for keeping up with the day-to-day demands of the business?
NV: Being organized and being confident in your teams’ capabilities. In any job, these days wearing different hats is necessary to stay relevant in an organization, or kitchen for the sake of the question. I think by surrounding myself with a good team and keeping them engaged in learning whether it is cooking techniques or fostering better team communication, we can achieve the day-to-day demands. I think looking forward, and making sure we evolve is the hard part, but also the most rewarding when you do achieve long-term goals set in a restaurant setting.
What is the top quality or value that you feel helped you become a successful chef?
NV: By not thinking I am successful, honestly. I have a student mentality and am humble about what I can do to become better or learn from mistakes openly. I look at myself as a tradesman. I owe continued apprenticeship through self-education, and continued learning, to myself, this industry, and most importantly my team.
What has been your greatest accomplishment working in this industry to date?
NV: At Baron’s Cove I have had the opportunity to work with culinary externs from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Working with students who are hoping and planning to be future chefs is humbling and rewarding. A few years ago, I would have mentioned an accolade or award, but it is the coolest thing to see a lightbulb go off for someone young that has respect for what you are trying to teach them, even if it takes a few times, or days . . . or weeks.
What is unique about Baron’s Cove that can’t be found or replicated at any other restaurant?
NV: We are uniquely positioned as a resort, so we can offer different experiences to all of our guests—local visitors, hotel guests, and non-hotel guests. We have a restaurant as well as our bar & lounge with cocktail seating available and open to the public. Hotel guests enjoy these offerings plus more such as poolside food and beverage service to private pool tents.
We can offer an anniversary dinner with a romantic setting in our main dining room, or a celebratory after work spot in our lounge. Crafting crowd-pleasing items for everyone within our different spaces is unique to Baron’s Cove plus it has one of the best harborside views on the East End.
How much do the summer months contrast with the off season when it comes to the dining room? Which do you prefer?
NV: It is wildly different in terms of volume as well as how our team expands and contracts. It keeps the job interesting. There are times when I look at it as two different restaurants, which allows myself not to be stagnant, and keeps menu development creative and thoughtfully seasonal. I do not have a preference, in terms of work, but I will say the beach in September/October is much nicer than December/January.
What else do you want people to know about Baron’s Cove?
NV: I look forward to welcoming returning locals, guests, and first-time diners to join us at The Restaurant at Baron’s Cove when we reopen for the season on February 11th. During the next few weeks, we’ll be open for dinner Friday, Saturday, & Sunday and will then expand spring and summer hours. We are also offering an exciting new Bar & Lounge menu featuring local ingredients crafted for small bites, sharing plates, and entrees on Wednesdays & Thursdays during this winter and spring.
For more info, visit https://www.caperesorts.com/barons-cove/dining