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Aug 4, 2011 05:38 AM

Favorite Cape Cod Clam Chowdah?

Another discussion got me thinking, who really has the best chowder on the Cape? I don't often order it as I make my own just the way I like it. To me, flour has no business being in chowder. Thicken it with cream and potato starch only. I'm surprised at how many cooks think chowder needs to have a spoon able to stand up in it.

And since Chowder festivals have absolutely nothing to do with the smaller batches made and served in our local restaurants rendering their rankings meaningless, lets throw our favorites out there. In the interest of accuracy, although I rarely order it out, my DW does often and always offers me a taste. My three favorites, in no particular order, include two unlikely locations.

Wimpy's Osterville.....a full of flavor, not too thick rendition of quahog chowder. The addition of the whole chopped clam including the bellies gives it tremendous flavor. Is sometimes a little too thick if you get near the end of the batch (I suspect).

Seaside on Main....It's a pub. And it always seems empty, and I hate the garish room, but the chef/partner owner is ever present, formally of Hannah's, and he does a really nice clam chowder with fresh thyme and clams that are always tender and never chewy.

McGrath's Saloon and Sports Bar.....a new basic joint in the site of the old Windjammer. Only one sampling so be forewarned, but very nice, not too thick chowder with tender clams , perfecty cooked red bliss potatoes, and fresh thyme. Perhaps a bit too heavy handed with the thyme but very nice overall.

As usual, my Mid-Cape bias applies.
What are your picks?

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  1. No love for the clam and cream, huh?

    2 Replies
    1. re: CapeCodGuy

      I've got love for the creamed clam! I go to the cape for a week every year and stay in Brewster, so I may not be as seasoned as someone such as yourself. The best chowders I've had on the cape were at Captain Parkers and the Brewster Fish House (both are on my food wall). The Brewster Fish House, by all accounts, now sucks. That is a crushing blow to my Cape week. We'll be there 8/14 - 8/20 and I will be using your top 5 list from another thread to guide me. I have to take the advice of a guy who has Cape Cod in his name, right. I'd like to add to my food wall this year. Do you think I should skip the BFH all together?

      Brewster Fish House
      2208 Main, Brewster, MA 02631

      1. re: foodwallguy

        Reports are certainly out there that the BFH has slipped greatly since the head chef left to open her own restaurant, FIN, in Dennis Village. I haven't been this season so I can't really comment. If I were you, I'd give it a try and make up your own mind. Or try Fin which has many of the same dishes we've all enjoyed at BFH. The only negative I've heard there is the room is rather loud and cramped. And I have to agree about BFH's chowder. When they had clam and mussel chowder on the menu I was in heaven. Best anywhere.

    2. The sad fact is that for a place like the Cape, where one would think that you could get a great bowl of chowder, I'm hard pressed to think of one that I can recommend. I think the misconception that most restaurants have around here is that folks are looking for that thick and pasty style of chowder that usually tastes more of cream and flour rather than that fresh briny clam flavor. I have found a pretty decent fish chowder at the Quarterdeck in Falmouth. Nice chunks of haddock in a flavorful broth, thickened with only the slightest bit of cream.
      When I make my own, I actually thicken it with a touch of evaporated milk...I think it brings out the sweetness of the clams.

      1 Reply
      1. re: dordalina

        I always return to Spanky's in Hyannis. Very tasty creamy clam chowder. (Decent plate of whole bellies too.) The Squire in Chatham makes a good bowl as well, but not as good in my opinion as Spanky's.