Clam chowder, particularly outside its native New England, can be easily overlooked—too thick, too chewy, too frequently relegated to a bread bowl. But done right, it is the stuff of legend.
At Duke’s Chowder House, it’s precisely that—a family recipe (using a bacon roux and unique combination of herbs) on which a local empire with six locations was built. $8.40–$17.90. Green Lake, 7850 Green Lake Drive N; 206.522.4908; dukeschowderhouse.com. Steelhead Diner takes a slightly more sophisticated approach with an Alaskan razor clam chowder that’s finished with a drizzle of truffle oil. $8–$10. Pike Place Market, 95 Pine St.; 206.625.0129; steelheaddiner.com.
And at Seattle Fish Company’s in-shop grill, you can sample perhaps the simplest version: ultrarich, generously salted and dense with clams ($5). Feeling inspired? The store sells fresh clams you can take home and throw into your favorite recipe. West Seattle, 4435 California Ave. SW; 206.938.7576; seattlefishcompany.com
Get the recipe for Duke’s Classic clam chowder.