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Nov 22, 2006 04:27 PM

Know anywhere to find non-creamy clam chowder?

Many years ago I frequented a place called Ma Davis' Brown Derby in Olympia, Washington. They had a clam chowder that was made without cream or milk. The broth was made, I think, from stock, clam juice, white wine and the drippings from all the stuff that went into it: clams, bacon, potatoes, celery, onions, garlic and some other stuff I'm no doubt forgetting. It was thick and rich and utterly delicious; one of the best soups I've ever had. Is there anywhere that anyone knows in the Greater L.A. area that makes a clam chowder like that?

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  1. Do you mean Manhattan Clam Chowder?

    People rave about the Manhattan clam chowder at the the ORIGINAL FISH CO., but I've never been a fan.

    For me, the best Manhattan chowder I've had has been at the DAILY GRILL in downtown Los Angeles (although I'd imagine other locations would be comparable).

    612 S. Flower St.
    Los Angeles, CA 90017

    11061 Los Alamitos Boulevard
    Los Alamitos
    (562) 594-4553

    3 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Nope, not Manhattan clam chowder, no tomatoes or anything like that. The clam chowder I'm thinking of is white - although not so white as cream or milk would make it, just kind of a dull white from the other ingredients.

      1. re: estone888

        Well one that is not QUITE so creamy, but may have milk or cream is Hungry Cat's oyster chowder.... so good, very thin but FLAVORFUL...e specially since they use black kale in it... YUMMMM!!


        1. re: Dommy

          The Hungry Cat definitely has what you are looking for. I went a week or so ago and the oyster chowder was not on the menu (I'd had it before, yum), but clam chowder was and it was DIVINE.

    2. The chowder at Water Grill or Providence's chowda might make you very happy, though I wouldn't say either is really thick. Both have delicious broths and are made with whole clams.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Babette

        Oof - I'd say Providence's chowder is definitely made with cream and/or whole milk. It's very very good, but very very filling due to its richness (when I went, I ordered that and the risotto with broiled eel, which was another appetizer, and couldn't even get to the risotto after having finished 2/3rds of the chowder). So if the OP is looking for a clam chowder without cream/milk, Providence is definitely not the place to go.

        But if the OP doesn't mind the cream - oh, definitely go to Providence. The presentation is also lovely - the broth comes in a separate ewer, the clams/potatos/etc arranged nicely in a bowl, then the waiter pours the broth over the clams. Yum!

        1. re: jacinthe

          No, if the OP wants clear (non-creamy) chowda, it ain't gonna be at Providence.

      2. If you ever end up in Marin, try the one at Pacific Cafe in Kentfield. I'm working on getting their recipe...

        1. Santa Monica Fish Market has awesome chowder!!! There are 2 or 3 different kinds.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Henry2054

            ahhh, true, but their New England chowder is very definitely creamy. But a big tub of that chowder makes a nice fast lunch on a cold day - such as those are in Santa Monica.

            1. re: Henry2054

              i give the New England one at SM seafood an average rating--- their manhattan
              i wouldn't taste again

            2. Since I'm being referred to as one, what's an OP anyhow?

              See, this stuff is harder to find than you would have thought. Other than the place in Olympia, which alas is no more, I've never found it.

              4 Replies
              1. re: estone888

                Original poster.
                I'm betting the chowder at Water Grill or Providence should give you a whole new kind of joy.

                1. re: Babette

                  Any excuse to go to Providence or Water Grill is always welcome. It's the problem with nostalgia though - Ma Davis' was only a counter, the soup was $4.95 for what seemed like a gallon of it and it came with freshly baked, dense, slightly sour brown bread.

                  1. re: estone888

                    So you've already had their chowders?

                2. re: estone888

                  OP=original poster
                  Not quite an OG, but still...