A bowl of New England clam chowder — that cream-based comfort soup best served with oyster crackers or toasted sourdough — is as ubiquitous as it is delicious. But a bowl of Manhattan clam chowder — New England’s tomato-based cousin of Portuguese descent — is a menu rarity, at least in this town.
While most seafood fans order its white chowder, Enterprise Fish Company’s red recipe has long been a sleeper hit, with in-house origins dating back to 1990. That’s when California voters approved Proposition 132, an initiated constitutional amendment banning gill nets within three miles of the coast. With it, Enterprise’s traditional tomato-broth fish stew lost affordable access to nearshore rockfish and angel shark.
But not all was lost. Creative cooks swapped out those two prime ingredients for clams, while stirring in bigger handfuls of rough-chopped celery, onion, and other tasty chowder mandatories. The result — a robust escape from summer fog, especially during the restaurant’s famed happy hour — is served in a cup, bowl, or sourdough bowl, and don’t be afraid to dress it up with splashes of Tabasco and several turns of fresh-ground black pepper.
Enterprise Fish Company is at 225 State Street. See enterprisefishco.com.