Chef Spotlight: Matty Boudreau

He’s cooking up all the New England summertime classics at Sag Harbor’s Baron’s Cove

ChefMattyOf all the lovely things to do in the Hamptons, dining by the water in Sag Harbor is definitely high on the to-do list—and if one plans on doing it right, the restaurant at Baron’s Cove simply must be considered for a meal or two (or more). Meet the man behind the menu: Chef Matty Boudreau.

Working through a second season in Sag Harbor—how does it feel to be back for another year?

It feels great to have our second season under way but we never really went anywhere; as a year-round business, we had a strong winter as well. We offered great holiday dinners (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, etc…), had shellfish festivals every other month, some wine pairing dinners with Jay McInerney, daily happy hours and blue plate specials! In all we are ready and looking forward to being even busier and making this an amazing season.

There’s been a lot of turnover in Sag over the past few seasons—do you feel like your food is heading into the zone of becoming an area standard? Or are you hoping people are still yet to fully discover your presence?

I’ve been in the restaurant business for all my life, turnover is part of the scene. We have extremely high standards for food and hope that people look at the whole scope of what it takes to be transparent with our vendors, techniques and love that we put into our food. As for people being aware of us yet, personally I know several good friends, not naming names, that won’t go to a restaurant till after a full year of being open. I understand people want a real experience when going out to eat, now I anticipate exceeding their expectations.

Sag Harbor is such a singular town, with its main street right down to the wharf, and water views everywhere—do you feel your location inspires your work, or do you have a mission that would have been in effect anywhere?

I first laid eyes on the property back in October 2014 with Curtis Bashaw. The feeling of my childhood’s summer escapes to the coast of New England came over me when I first saw the location. We would drive from Cape Cod to Bar Harbor, stopping all along the way. As Curtis and I spoke about the possible menu drawn from the old seaside haunts of New England as well as the yacht clubs peppered along the coast… the view of the water inspires the comfort of that style of food. The dining room set up high looking out on the marina just screams out to make the connection of food and scenery. My team’s mission is always to make the meal memorable no matter what.

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Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 4.37.06 PMWhat do you foresee as “the” most memorable dish to be—by the end of the Summer of 2016, can you guess which dishes will have new impact, and which classics will remain the strongest?

This year we plan on launching a daily special that really captures the day’s feeling. Some teases are Lobster Thermidor on Saturdays and Rhode Island Style fried Clam Bellies on Thursdays. As for the menu items we and the guests love the most are our Long Island Duck Breast with cherry glaze, Fisherman’s Stew, and the awesome lobster roll!

Let’s give people a taste of your tastes—let’s set the scene: it’s Friday night, dinnertime, at some point in early to mid-season. Main Street is buzzing, and the weekend crowd is coming your way—what do you recommend to “wow” them?

Start off with a cocktail downstairs on the veranda, snacking on the free salt & vinegar popcorn. Then head upstairs for the beautiful view of the sunset from Baron’s deck and start off with some Montauk Pearl oysters on the half shell, warm parker house buns, a bowl of chilled local cucumber soup. Grab a bottle of fantastic wine from Jay’s list to wash down a plate of classic surf n’ turf, lobster stuffed lobster tail with a prime filet mignon or a pile of Montauk scallops with the farm’s latest haul of summer squash and garden beans.

Now, it’s Labor Day Weekend, and Tumbleweed Tuesday looms—is there something you might pitch for someone whose yet to sample your wares, but won’t likely be back in the Hamptons until 2017?

I’m on a competitive BBQ team, Salty Rinse. Come over that weekend for a whole pig roast and all the fixings… We do 6 of these each summer, look out for the dates. I promise one unbelievable time covered in juicy, saucy QUE! And if you can stay an extra day, come for our Tumbleweeds Tuesday party! Tons of food, music and drinks will be keeping the summer going.

Finally, let’s play devil’s advocate: YOU are out and about on the East End—where does a celebrated chef like Matty Boudreau go for an amazing bite?

I am lucky enough to live here year round, so in the winter I get to enjoy my colleagues’ hard efforts and fares. Mike at 1770 house is awesome, Sam at Bell & Anchor is always on point, Jesse takes great care of me at the back bar of Sen and the newest addiction out east is the Oxtail Ramen at Moni.

Final thoughts?

At the Cove we are waiting for the chance to let you enjoy our wonderful rooms, awesome food & beautiful setting. See you soon!