When: August 20, 2016, 11:50 AM
The top menu item at the Pacific Wharf Cafe is “Soup in a Sourdough Bread Bowl.” They offer three different soups: clam chowder, broccoli and cheddar, or “seasonal” (which, today, is tomato bisque).
My initial impulse is to avoid the chowder. I still have lingering PTSD from the my last clam chowder encounter. Hence, I’m trying to decide between the broccoli-n-cheddar or the tomato bisque.
I get to the counter, and ask the friendly Cast Member which soup is her favorite.
“Oh, the clam chowder,” she says. Instantly. No hesitation. “It’s great.”
I give her the raised eyebrow.
She assures me that it’s her go-to. So I say yes, and she hands over a tray.
Presentation-wise, this dish is the long-lost identical twin of the Creamy Clam Chowder from Royal Street Veranda. It’s an excavated loaf of sourdough bread, filled with soup. The cap comes on the side as an accompaniment.
I break out the spoon. And you know what? It’s pretty good.
Suddenly, I’m happy. Where Royal Street has starchy, flavorless chowder, filled with chunks of random potato, this is much more varied. You can taste the clams. The vegetables are good. The celery salt is doing some work. The soup itself has a nice consistency.
The bread is just OK. We tried nibbling on the sourdough cap, and knocked that action off pretty quickly. It’s a gimmick. Don’t consider it part of the dish.
Elaine put it best: “This isn’t award-winning clam chowder, but it’ll do.” I agree. This is respectable.