Photograph by Darren Pellegrino
Wading into the clam chowder fray is fraught with danger—milk or cream, flour or no flour, and how big should those potato chunks be, anyhow? At Brine, they eschew chunks of spuds entirely in the Clam & Pork Chowder for a velvety purée of potatoes cooked in a mixture of clam juice and classic chowder flavorings (thyme, bacon, celery, onion, etc.), strained and puréed with cream. Topped with smoked clams, crispy house-cured pork belly, and crunchy potato chips that melt into the soup in lieu of oyster crackers, this chowder’s flavors are familiar yet elegant.
25 State St., Newburyport, 978-358-8479, brineoyster.com
Turner’s Seafood at Lyceum Hall
Turner’s continues to draw accolades for its classic recipe—not too thick and not too thin, studded with clams and red bliss potatoes.
43 Church St., Salem, 978-745-7665, turners-seafood.com
Woodman’s of Essex
Close competitor Woodman’s of Essex has a century-old chowder recipe that consistently satisfies.
121 Main St., Essex, 978-768-2559, woodmans.com