Photo Credit: iStockphoto/maribee
In New England, nearly every restaurant menu has “award-winning clam chowder” on the menu, which may cause you to second-guess its credibility. While the area is known for its fresh clams, lobster and crab, finding the ultimate seafood restaurant may not be as easy as wandering into the place next to your favorite pub. For the best seafood the country has to offer, throw out the anchor at one of the following restaurants. Naturally, they’re all located on the Atlantic, Pacific or Gulf coasts.
What: For high-end seafood dining perfection, put eating at Le Bernardin on your bucket list. At the helm of this three-Michelin star restaurant is French native Eric Ripert, whose accidental takeover of the executive chef position in 1994 soon earned the restaurant its “Temple of Seafood” nickname. Indulge in the Japanese blue fin tuna, escolar, crispy black bass and wild Alaskan salmon cured with yuzu. Three-course tasting menus start at $70.
Where: 155 W 51st St., New York, NY 10019
What: Quite the opposite of Le Bernardin, Faidley is a seafood market and no-frills restaurant (items are served on disposable plates), but the out-of-this-world jumbo lump crab cake is all you’ll be looking at. The crab is still lumped together when it’s fried, barely bound together with a hint of mayonnaise and batter, pieces of crab quite visible from the outside. The cream of crab soup also has visible chunks of crab in it, and the raw bar serves fresh oysters, clams – and ice-cold beer to wash it all down with.
Where: 200 N. Paca St., Baltimore, MD 21201
Swan Oyster Depot
What: Seafood salads are on the pricey side here, but you’ll get your money’s worth with shrimp, prawns, crab, a combination of the latter three or lobster on lettuce with Thousand Island dressing. Try the various, generously-portioned seafood cocktails, from crab to shrimp to clams, with house-made cocktail sauce. For the budget-conscious, order a bowl of the seawater-salty clam chowder for less than $5 and add a side of bread for $1, or split a salad with a friend and order a cup of the chowder.
Where: 1517 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109
What: The quintessential lobster roll is the star here, and at $25, it’s worth the price. Instead of tossed with mayonnaise, the huge pieces of lobster are drizzled with hot drawn butter on a butter-toasted roll. While the clam chowder doesn’t claim to be the best in the city, it just may be (how’s that for irony?), with a more brothy, less creamy base than most, which makes the fresh clams and still-firm vegetables stand out even more.
Where: 63 Salem St., Boston, MA 02113
Hunt’s Oyster Bar and Seafood
What: On the other side of fancy, Hunt’s is a true dive bar. But you’ll hardly notice the digs when you dive into oysters on the half shell, sautéed crab claws, seafood platter with grouper, shrimp and scallops, crab cakes or any of the baked oyster choices: with butter and parmesan, three cheese, three-cheese Cajun or three-cheese jalapeno. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the frog legs and fried gator tail.
Where: 1150 Beck Ave., Panama City, FL 32401
Pike Place Chowder
What: With a name that includes the word “chowder,” you can probably guess what the specialty is here. But not just limited to New England-style clam chowder (though it’s exceptional), Pike Place Chowder also has seafood bisque, smoked salmon chowder, Manhattan-style chowder and seared scallop chowder, which you can order straight-up or in a sourdough bread bowl. The restaurant is also known for its Dungeness crab roll, filled with fresh crab and dressed with mayonnaise, celery and lemon juice and served with coleslaw. Fish ‘n chips baskets in cod, salmon or halibut are also a must-try.
Where: 1530 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101