Good Rhode Island chowder in Providence?
Do you know of a restaurant in Providence where I can get a good Rhode Island chowder (ie not creamy New England or tomatoey Manhattan but clear broth)? (Preferably near College Hill or downtown or at least accessible by cab or bus.) It's all the rage in Los Angeles, because of Michael Cimarusti, but last time in Providence I couldn't find it (admittedly I didn't look too thoroughly). Not sure it's called Rhode Island chowder when you're actually in Rhode Island.
It is called Rhode Island clam chowder or, often, just "clear" chowder. Unfortunately, Providence isn't the best place to get it. I can only think of a few places you'd be likely to find it. The first is Blount in the jewelry district downtown, 371 Richmond Street. The other is Horton's Seafood in East Providence, right over the red bridge from the East Side, 809 Broadway. You would have to drive to Horton's, either a short cab ride or bus ride. The 60 bus goes by on some routes only (on the timetable, look for trips marked East Side or E. Side). They don't run that way all the time. The Rumford bus (35??) and perhaps a few other routes also go down Broadway.
It's possible you could find clear chowder in a restaurant in Providence, but most places seem to serve the creamy, New England style. Personally, I think you're much better off just going to a clam shack like Blount or Horton's--they're almost certain to have it, but definitely call ahead if you want to be sure. If forced to pick one of these, I'd say Horton's, even though it's a bit less accessible. It's been around forever, and you'd get an authentic seafood shack experience (or as authentic as it can be in the middle of a highly developed area away from the waterfront...) Good luck!
Blount and Horton's looked great; neither fit into this trip but I'm eager to try them in future. (Both the 60 and 35 bus go right to Horton's according to current schedules.) As per shutterbugRI's suggestion we tried Providence Oyster Bar which had the clear chowder. I liked that the clam taste came through more than with New England or Manhattan style, but I thought this version at least had too much pepper. However, the raw oysters and my Atlantic swordfish were wonderfully delicious.
I looked at menus of restaurants/shacks I thought might serve the clear Rhode Island clam chowder. Found a few. The nearest to you on College Hill is the Providence Oyster Bar on Atwells Avenue, Federal Hill. I would think you could get there by RIPTA bus. It is a bit of a walk but doable.
The clear chowder is also available at Horton’s Seafood in East Providence.
If you should get down to the southern coast of Rhode Island, stop at the Matunuck Oyster Bar where the clear Rhode Island clam chowder is on the menu. It is a fabulous spot on Potter Pond, the site of their oyster farm. If weather allows, dining on the outdoor deck with its umbrellaed tables and a view of the pond is a treat. Their fresh seafood is exceptionally well-prepared. I can vouch for the succulent whole-belly fried clams, seared scallops and fish and chips. The East Matunuck State Beach on the Atlantic Ocean is just up the road from the restaurant. It is a fine place to swim in warm weather or enjoy the view anytime.
Blount and Horton's looked great; neither fit into this trip but I'm eager to try them in future. (Both the 60 and 35 bus go right to Horton's according to current schedules.) As per your suggestion we tried Providence Oyster Bar which had the clear chowder. I liked that the clam taste came through more than with New England or Manhattan style, but I thought this version at least had too much pepper. However, the raw oysters and my Atlantic swordfish were wonderfully delicious. Thanks for the suggestions.