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Does anyone in LA make a New England style clam chowder thickened with cream instead of flour?

Mr Taster Apr 20, 2011 10:16 AM

The difference between the two types is startling. I'm talking about the style you find at the venerable Kelly's in Revere Beach, Massachusetts-- much thinner, silkier on your tongue.

Cream thickened chowder is more difficult to hold at temperature all day (as a restaurant would) because it tends to clump without stirring and babysitting, so flour (or corn starch) thickening has become the standard bearer for restaurant chowder coast to coast.

Any ideas for cream thickened chowder in LA?

Mr Taster

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  1. Baron RE: Mr Taster Apr 20, 2011 10:23 AM

    I had great clam chowder at the Taix - served on Fridays. Tasted more like cream than flower or cornstarch to me. Very fresh, very good. They also give you a terrine, not just a cup or a bowl. It was comparable to Brophy's in Santa Barbara, maybe even better.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Baron
      Servorg RE: Baron Apr 20, 2011 10:48 AM

      I wold immediately think of Water Grill (and their sister restaurant in Santa Monica - "Ocean Avenue Seafood") as likely candidates. Probably worth a call to see what they would say.

      Water Grill
      544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

      Ocean Avenue Seafood
      1401 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

      1. re: Servorg
        Ernie RE: Servorg Apr 20, 2011 01:33 PM

        I agree, the clam chowder at Water Grill is fantastic and fits Mr. Taster's description

        Water Grill
        544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

        1. re: Ernie
          Porthos RE: Ernie Apr 20, 2011 01:58 PM

          Just had the chowder at Water Grill last week. It's exactly as you describe it...a sweeter tasting chowder because of the cream. However, it only had 4 manilla clams to the entire bowl. I would have preferred mine heavier on the clams.

          Water Grill
          544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

      2. re: Baron
        JosephEBacon RE: Baron Apr 20, 2011 09:07 PM

        Baron's right. I cast another vote for Taix's clam chowder. Love to go there on Friday nights!

        1. re: Baron
          jackattack RE: Baron Apr 22, 2011 03:43 PM

          Another vote for Taix, don't forget it's fridays only. I don't think Taix's clam chowder has any potatoes though, did you miss them?

          1. re: jackattack
            Baron RE: jackattack Apr 22, 2011 04:10 PM

            I don't recall whether there were potatoes or not. I only remember it was very good, a huge terrine, good French bread and butter and salad for about $10 at lunch.

            1. re: jackattack
              JosephEBacon RE: jackattack Apr 23, 2011 10:37 AM

              I honestly don't remember, but Taix's clam chowder just hits the spot. And it's so nice to get plenty of it! It's a great way to start a weekend!

          2. wienermobile RE: Mr Taster Apr 20, 2011 01:08 PM

            They have a nice chowder at Blue Plate Oysterette in Santa Monica. Not as thick as most but with great flavors. It's made with cherrystone clams, light cream and bacon.


            1 Reply
            1. re: wienermobile
              maudies5 RE: wienermobile Jun 8, 2011 08:49 PM

              I recently had the clam chowder at Blue Plate Oysterette. Although, flavorful, the potatoes were woefully undercooked and there was much too much bacon in the soup. I considered sending the soup back because of the inedible potatoes, but realized that I was there shortly after it opened on a Wed (farmer's market day) and it probably had just not cooked long enough.. I know, not my problem. Tried both the New England Clam Chowder and Manhattan at S.M. Seafood. I know S.M. Seafood doesn't get a lot of love here, but I have to say that the N.E. Chowder was damn tasty and loaded with clams (& no raw potatoes). The Manhattan was good, but I preferred the NE.

            2. ipsedixit RE: Mr Taster Apr 20, 2011 09:10 PM

              Providence and the previously mentioned Water Grill both have cream-based clam chowder.

              As an aside, isn't it redundant to specify that one wants a New England style clam chowder that is cream based? No cream, thickener, roux, etc. used in Manhattan Clam Chowder right?

              1 Reply
              1. re: ipsedixit
                Mr Taster RE: ipsedixit Apr 20, 2011 09:54 PM

                If I had asked for a "cream based NE style clam chowder", that would be redundant. But what I'm looking for is a NE chowder that is not thickened with starch (other than the starch that leeches out from the diced potatoes)

                Mr Taster

              2. n
                New Trial RE: Mr Taster Apr 21, 2011 02:25 AM

                Providence would be my top choice. To go in a different direction, have you tried the Thai-influenced clam chowder at A Frame?

                6 Replies
                1. re: New Trial
                  Servorg RE: New Trial Apr 21, 2011 02:30 AM

                  That sounds interesting. I don't recall seeing that particular item written up in the A Frame reviews here. I do like Thai fusion dishes...

                  1. re: Servorg
                    New Trial RE: Servorg Apr 22, 2011 02:17 AM

                    Lots of fresh clams and a lovely, light, lemongrass broth with coconut milk, green curry and pancetta.

                    1. re: New Trial
                      Tripeler RE: New Trial Apr 22, 2011 07:01 PM

                      That sounds thoroughly delightful. Some times fusion can be a great thing.

                    2. re: Servorg
                      bulavinaka RE: Servorg Apr 23, 2011 04:33 PM

                      Your fellow summa cum laude poster mollyomormon mentioned it - it's the final entry of the thread. What folks like you and her say stick to me like glue:


                      1. re: bulavinaka
                        Servorg RE: bulavinaka Apr 23, 2011 04:43 PM

                        Thanks for letting me know it was covered by m-o-m (her tastes tend to be very close to mine and I use her likes and dislikes as a good barometer when making decisions about whether to go someplace or not).

                        1. re: Servorg
                          bulavinaka RE: Servorg Apr 23, 2011 06:41 PM

                          >>...her tastes tend to be very close to mine and I use her likes and dislikes as a good barometer when making decisions about whether to go someplace or not...<<

                          Great taste buds taste alike... I haven't been back to A-Frame since m-o-m's mention but I do plan on trying on the next time around - if it's still offered...

                          12565 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                  2. r
                    reality check RE: Mr Taster Apr 23, 2011 04:27 PM

                    I've never been, but there is a seafood place in Los Alamitos that serves up a good NE style clam chowder. Not sure what they use to thicken it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: reality check
                      rjw_lgb_ca RE: reality check Jun 9, 2011 10:59 AM

                      That would be Original Fish Company, at the corner of Los Al and Katella in Los Al.

                      The NE clam chowder is very nice (my New Bedford-born mother-in-law loves it!), and it doesn't skimp on the clams. It is thick enough for me to think they do use a roux to thicken it (and they cook it down enough to get rid of the flour flavor); it's also just rich enough that I'd assume they also add heavy cream. Either way, I'm not complaining. It's delicious.

                      Lasher's in Long Beach has a very nice NE clam chowder, although it has a stronger flavor note from bacon, which some might find not historically correct. Again, I will just note that I love it, tradition be damned. I think their version has just heavy cream, without a roux. But I could be wrong.

                      I'm heading to the Cape in a couple of weeks and plan to stop at Captain Parker's in West Yarmouth for their famous chowdah, having already enjoyed Lindsey's chowdah (in East Wareham). I'll be sure to compare them all!

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