So it’s what passes for winter in Santa Barbara, but that’s okay, as the hint of a chill makes it even more imperative than usual to head to Brophy Bros. (119 Harbor Wy.; 966-4418; brophybros.com) for some chowder. We’re talking New England clam chowder, not the Manhattan stuff-if I wanted it to be red, I’d have ordered a Clamato. Brophy’s manages to nail the trick of making the soup creamy and not porridgy, for an over-floured chowder shares a weight and consistency with paste. Even more importantly, there’s recognizable-by both size and taste-clam chunks, the briny bivalves seemingly happy to share their sauce with diced potato. It’s the kind of magical soup that could bring to life the famous bronze Man at the Wheel statue in Gloucester, Massachusetts. I’m not sure what he’d make of the accompanying chewy sourdough, but those of us in CA know it’s a match that wonderfully works.
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