The deconstructed pork and clam chowder has been a favorite since Brine opened. The velvety puree of potatoes cooked in a mixture of clam juice and classic flavorings (thyme, bacon, celery, onion, etc.), strained and blended with cream then topped with pork belly and crispy potato chips, is luxurious comfort food at its best. While it looks simple, preparation takes days—they use only fresh little neck clams and cure the pork belly in-house. Even the fingerling potatoes, fried as a crispy topping to the soup, get an overnight treatment, soaking in vinegar and water.
25 State St., Newburyport, 978-358-8479, brineoyster.com (At press time, Brine is operating out of Ceia, 38 State St., Newburyort, 978-358-8112)
Woodman’s of Essex
The recipe hasn’t changed in more than a hundred years, for good reason—thick and creamy and gluten-free, with only local clams. Woodman’s clam chowder is so popular that you can even get it mail order, sending a fresh taste of the North Shore anywhere in the country.
119 Main St., Essex, 978-768-6057, woodmans.com