The Sparks Marina makes me laugh. Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s a nice place, and I like to take my dog there, but it’s like we all forget that at one time it was the environmental catastrophe known as Helms Pit. Now you can buy a fancy home and do fancy shopping at an area once so contaminated it was actually named a Superfund site by the federal government. But like I said, I enjoy the marina, so I was excited to take my friend Annette for brunch at the Sunset Cove Café, which is downstairs in the big blue building facing the marina.
The weather was fairly decent, so I figured we’d better sit outside and enjoy it while we could. We went inside to get a table and noticed it was very comfortable, casual and clean, with a Tuscan theme. Inside, there’s a bar area as well as tables with comfy chairs. Back outside, we sat down at a table and watched the water and people.
Quite a bit of time went by before the waitress appeared again with menus, and we started with a mimosa ($8) and a latte ($3.95). The mimosa arrived before the latte and was huge, as it better be for eight bucks, but sadly there was little champagne, so basically I paid a lot of money for a lot of orange juice. Hoping things would improve, I ordered another, but sadly it was the same as the first. I should mention I was ordering before I knew how much they cost.
Sunset Cove has a limited but sufficient menu of breakfast and sandwich type items. Breakfast is served until 4 p.m., and Annette decided she felt more like breakfast, so she went with the Cove Breakfast ($7.95), which came with eggs, ham, hash browns and an English muffin (or toast).
I ordered the grilled chicken sandwich with a side of fries ($8.95). The fries were advertised as “home cut,” and the waitress explained that everything at Sunset Cove is handmade, which is why things can take a little longer. Well, I’m OK with waiting for quality, especially when I’m sitting outside relaxing, so the wait didn’t bother me and really wasn’t too long.
She was right, because all the food tasted fresh and homemade. However, there didn’t seem to be a lot of flavor to any of it. My sandwich was moist but I couldn’t taste the chipotle spread it was supposed to have. There was some cheese that gave it some flavor, but not enough. The fries were definitely hand cut but were lacking salt. Annette indicated that her dish was well-cooked, but also lacked flavor. Additionally, trying to get a spread for her English muffin proved futile.
What Sunset Cove does have going for it is its location and its staff, who I think may be the owners and a mother/daughter team. Both were incredibly friendly, and you could tell they took a lot of pride in the place. However, the prices are a little high for food that just isn’t that exciting. But as Helm’s Pit has proved, people are forgiving of things here, and this place is definitely not in need of a Superfund overhaul. I hope they make just a few tweaks to the food, because I think this place could be great.