The day after the Bruins win the Stanley Cup seems like a good day to get some clam chowder…just a great celebration for New England kind of day. And with Bob Lobster so close, it was time to revisit the one-time mecca of clam chowder…
First Taste: a fishy-ness, a briny-ness, a deep immediate taste of the ocean. No question from the first spoonful that this is loaded with clams.
Fishy Substance: good, fresh clams and plenty of them. No extras, no special little join-the-party fish, just tasty clams (with a little grit, which is a good thing).
Essential Extras: the potatoes have just the right firmness – solid, without being raw and undercooked. There was no bacon, but the celery was perfect – enough to taste, but not too much. The pepper was good – no extra needed….ok, maybe a little extra needed (but that’s the Polack in me).
Creamy Quality: Bob Lobster consistently has the creaminess right, if maybe slightly sliding towards soup. Because the chowder is so well-balanced overall, I can’t fault it for being slightly-ever-so-slightly soupy.
What It’s Got: Balance. And heft. Some clam chowders leave you ready for a meal, but Bob Lobster’s – for lunch, at least – is enough. And a salty ocean taste that hits you on the first spoonful and then really thunders through when you get to the bottom of the bowl. That ocean sense-smell-taste sets it apart.
Overall: My soul suffered a near-fatal blow when I learned Bob Lobster doesn’t make their own chowder, but instead brings it in from the Boston Chowder Company. I confirmed that today and asked why they don’t make their own. The counter clerk had no good explanation, but I remain convinced something about the ocean air all around Bob Lobster and maybe the vats they keep the chowder in give it an extra something. It is, despite its semi-factory origins, a very good chowder. I just wish they made it themselves.
Rating: 4 Clams...Booby Orr’s number, which seems just right today.