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The Souper Bowl

The exterior of Legal Sea Foods in the

The exterior of Legal Sea Foods in the Walt Whitman Shops mall. Credit: Howard Schnapp, 2009

In a rivalry almost as intense as Giants-Patriots, there's New England clam chowder versus Manhattan.

The football fan in me will be for Big Blue; the eater, Creamy White.

Not that I detest  the red Manhattan chowder. But almost every one I've tasted in the past decade has been an invitation to agita, undone by killer tomatoes and even harsher seasoning.

I've tried Rhode Island clam chowder, a gift from the Portuguese community, that has tomatoes, but with a gentler result. And I've enjoyed Bonac chowder, the East End contribution to chowdering that, at least in one recipe, includes half-and-half as well as tomatoes.

But it's the cream-based chowda with bacon and potatoes, sometimes onions and butter, that kicks the extra point. Try one at either Legal Sea Foods in Huntington Station, which also has the Rhode Island;  or at H2O Seafood Grill in Smithtown.

And let me know if there's a Manhattan chowder you'd pursue with the obsessiveness of Ahab, or at least the spirit of Eli Manning.

Chowda house at Legal Sea Foods.

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