By Sophia Ricco
Take a stroll down Main Street in Cold Spring Harbor and find every detail has been crafted to perfection at The Gourmet Whaler.
The beloved restaurant has gained a name for itself over the years with its award-winning tacos and scrumptious homemade desserts. Owned by Dennis Chin, a native of Old Bethpage who lives in Huntington Station, and her husband, the restaurant is a product of her passion for cooking and eating well.
Chin learned to cook from her mother and grandmother at a young age, becoming a baker and chocolatier before turning to personal training. When training clients, she would try to feed them her desserts to no avail.
“The whole time I was training, the reason I did was because I love food so much and I love to eat,” Chin said.
Chin’s love of food led her to rent a counter from the previous owner of The Gourmet Whaler, until he closed. That’s when Chin took a leap and bought the shop four years ago.
To develop the menu, Chin and her chef collaborated on recipes to curate flavorful dishes and utilized Chin’s cherished dessert recipes. Chin ensures fresh, high quality ingredients go into the restaurant’s food, as they “strive for the best”.
“We’ve really tried to find out what people want,” Chin said. “Everybody that comes in, we talk to them and kind of evolve from that.”
We were served The Gourmet Whaler’s most loved meals for breakfast and lunch, each packed with interesting flavors. The quinoa bowl with grilled shrimp ($18.95) was an enticing take on the healthy dish that dressed up the quinoa with avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, and chipotle mayo on the side.
The crab cake ($15.95) is highly recommend, served with avocado, pico de gallo, arugula, corn, and chipotle mayo. The crab was phenomenal and demonstrated why buying top quality makes the difference.
Start your day with one of the many tempting tastes on The Gourmet Whaler’s breakfast menu. Nothing beats the homemade pancake batter from Chin’s mother’s recipe. Two fluffy jumbo pancakes ($9.75) with syrup and butter are sure to satisfy anyone’s appetite.
The steak omelet ($15.95) that is filled with peppers, onions, tomatoes and cheddar, topped with pico de gallo and served with homefries. All of the flavors of the omelet work together in harmony for a savory bite.
“I love good food, every detail of this place is very important to me, from the pancakes to the potatoes,” Chin said. “Everything you eat, at least to me, you have to love it.”
It’s clear that people do love their food, after The Gourmet Whaler won “Best Taco in Long Island” this year. If you’re a fish fan, you must try their fish tacos ($13.95), overflowing with fried flounder and their signature slaw, served with chipotle mayo and peach mango salsa.
“The tacos get people in the door and to notice us, then they get to see all the other things we are doing,” Chin said. “They brought us notoriety.”
But no trip to The Gourmet Whaler is completed without trying one of Chin’s deserts, like the Tin Roof Sundae ($9.99). This yummy concoction consists of vanilla ice cream, brownies, melted peanut butter and chocolate, and peanuts. It satisfies sweet tooths in its ooey-gooey hodgepodge.
“I want everything you put in your mouth here to be a, ‘Wow!’ I work very hard to make that happen,” Chin said. “I’m looking for that wow factor on every single level.”