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Best New England Clam Chowder

Pearl Oyster Bar
18 Cornelia Street; 212-691-8211


The key to a dense, rib-sticking, cold-winter's-day, cream-based chowder is the pork -- salt pork, if you're a stickler for old-school Yankee propriety, though a good helping of double-smoked bacon will do, and that's what you'll find in abundance down at the Pearl Oyster Bar, on Cornelia Street. The chowder is constructed according to age-old geological principles. First comes the nourishing strata of potatoes and chopped onions, then a sediment of fresh steamers. Cream is poured over this foundation, and on its surface is a sprinkling of chives. Mingled among these layers are strips of savory bacon that complement the sweetness of the cream and give the chowder its rich, smoky punch. A dish like this is a guilty pleasure, and at Pearl it's best eaten alone, among like-minded chowder hounds, at the famously crowded bar.


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