- Grand Prize: Greenhouse Cafe – 6th St and Long Beach Blvd, Ship Bottom. 609.494.7333 A good clam broth base, with lovely, big chunks of tender clam. Not too vegetable or tomato-ey tasting. Yum.
- 1st Runner Up: Sweet Jenny’s – 107 South Main St, Barnegat. 609.698.2228. A little sweeter, more like what you think of in a fish chowder-but GOOD.
- 2nd Runner Up: Sea Oaks – 99 Golf View Dr, Little Egg Harbor. 609.296.2656. I like that they went out on a limb and added vinegar peppers to theirs. Not to everyone’s taste, but it was spicy and different-John really dug it.
- Grand Prize: Country Kettle – 800 North Bay Ave, Beach Haven. 609.492.2800. A real clam broth base, not too “milky”, nice balance of black pepper and sherry notes, big, tender chunks of clam. As Jason said: “Just what you think of when you say “Chowdah”.
- 1st Runner Up: Howard’s Restaurant – 24 West 29th St, Beach Haven Gardens. 609.492.2319. Creamy, nice bit of celery, good clam flavor-but maybe not enough actual clams!
- 2nd Runner Up: Mud City Crab House – 1185 East Bay Ave, Manahawkin. 609.978.3660. “Good and clammy”, large tender chunks of clams, a bit too milky, perhaps.
Other participants for Red Chowder included: Bistro 14 (too many veggies, not enough clams!), Surf City Bakery (overwhelmingly bacon-y and smoky, no taste of clams), Stefano’s (a little sweet, and somewhat yummy, but we took off massive points for the crunch of SAND-if you can’t clean the clams carefully, I don’t think you should score too high), The Gazebo (thick, sweet, no clams, tastes like Campbell’s), and Marlin 308 Deli (we never got to taste this one-the line was LONG because there was only one person pouring verrrry slowly, and any actual tasters surveyed said it wasn’t that great-we skipped it).
Other White Chowder contenders we sampled were: Panzone’s (Last year’s winner, but we weren’t impressed. It had a good “clammy” flavor, but wasn’t creamy enough and, again, had sand in it.), Merrimakers Catering (thin, little flavor, no clams, tasted like “milk soup”), California Grill (sweet and creamy, but not a lot of clam flavor; veggies not well-cut: mine had a big, honkin’ chunk of onion in it), Daddy O (Super-thick and starchy, it probably contained pureed potato to thicken it, as it tasted more like a good vichyssoise than clam chowder), Buckalew’s (thin and overwhelmingly onion-y. I love onions, but this is clam chowder!), and TGI Friday’s (SALTY, devoid of clams. “Tastes like hot ranch dressing.” ‘Nuff said.).
Grand prize: California Grill
1st Runner up: Country Kettle
2nd : Howard’s
3rd: Mud City
Critic’s Choice: Panzone’s
Grand Prize: Stefano’s
1st runner up: Bistro 14
2nd Runner up: Greenhouse Café
3rd Runner Up: Sweet Jenny’s
Critic’s Choice: Stefano’s