Dissenters are welcome, but should not be believed.
REAL NE chowders come in three flavors - clam, fish and corn. Period. Seafood chowder is an abomination.
Chowder is not thick. A spoon will not stand up in it.
It will slosh in your bowl, not glop on your spoon.
Broth, which is the key to a great chowder, is a watery liquid. If the chowder is thick and creamy, it must,therefore, have too little broth. Read line one. A truly great chowder has consistency from the potatoes and fish only.
It is made of:
MILK - not just cream
CREAM - preferably light cream
FISH - haddock would be a blessing, cod is very acceptable OR
CLAMS - either soft shell steamers or any hardshell variety from cherrystones to quahogs OR
CORN - cut from the cob and the cob scraped for corn milk
BROTH - a lot of broth from the fish or the clam. The corn milk supplies the corn broth flavor.
ONIONS - a trace of onions lightly sauteed preferably in salted pork back or as a concession to the world, butter.
POTATOES - Floury Maine or Idahos cut to spoon-sized unevenly shaped chunks. Waxy, redskins have their place but it is not in chowder.
SALT (not match if you use pork rind) and PEPPER.
NOTHING ELSE! NO celery, no herbs, no other spices.
If the restaurant advertises "award-winning" NE chowder, stay away. There are scores of chowder contests. All are apparently judged by New Yorkers or other mis-informed "foodies." One "winner"in Hyannis amidst the flock of foodie, anti-New England restaurants on Main Street actually had NUTMEG in the chowder.
I respect chef's trying variations on a theme. However, it is NOT NE chowder and should NEVER win a NE chowder award. Why don't these contests become honest and make a category for best chowder variation.
For REAL CHOWDER on Cape Cod ( and get there quick before the cook tries to win a contest):
Sagamore Inn, Sagamore on Rte 28. Too many onions and a lot of broth vs dairy make this almost a Rhode Island chowder. But it is briny and good. Good fried haddock. Unusual and not-to-my-taste Italianish dishes. Their own sauages are a delight.
Captain Bob's Wee Packet Inn, Dennnis Fundamental stuff. If he has fried Maine shrimp, they are worth skipping a second bowl of chowder. The blueberry crunch can save you a trip to Maine.
Seafood Sam's, Rte 28, Yarmouth
Excellent chowder. Adequate but not spectacular fried clams.
One of the few places left that have fried lobster - a real treat. Unfortunately, fried lobster seems to be only available with the seafood plate. Next trip, i will beg and plead for just as ide order of the fried lobster.
PLEASE share any places you know woth REAL NE chowder.