Steaming It Up On A Hot Summer Day

Photo by Josh Resnek

By Josh Resnek

For weeks I had been wanting a New England summer treat – the kind my father loved, which I came to love, and frankly, which I cannot do without at least several times during an average summer.

I’m talking steamers and clam chowder.

I know. I know. Clam chowder can often be so disappointing.

Steamers, however, always manage to please.

Over the weekend, my wife and I ate at the Barnicle on Marblehead Harbor. I’ve been eating there all my life.

It isn’t the grandest of New England waterfront restaurant venues but it is solid.

The chowder was solid.

What does that mean?

It wasn’t all gouged out of a can and heated up and served as a homemade treat. The chowder was, and has always been, specially made. In recent years, the chowder has gotten better and better at the Barnicle.

In my opinion, the best chowder in Massachusetts can be bought at the Grog in Newburyport.

The chowder is light, buttery, filled with potato and clams and just watery enough to make it an incredible treat.

The Barnicle’s chowder is not the Grog’s. It is also not Legal’s – although I believe just about everything served at Legal’s, including nearly its entire menu, has gone to rubbish standards.

The Barnicle’s chowder is lighter than it is creamy, sweeter than it is plain, buttery without a trace of it, and not quite loaded with potatoes and clams.

I think it was $7 bucks for a cup. Well worth it.

Next I ordered steamers, a New England staple but still a plate meant for diners with a well developed palate for special items out of the sea.

My steamers were robust, large actually, sweet, soft, and so so good when cleaned in the broth and dipped in the melted butter before being dropped into my mouth.

The treats together cost $22 bucks, well worth every penny if you, like me, needed a treat like that.

I will be back.

Just about the best $22 bucks I’ve spent all summer eating a treat I love.

My wife, by the way, ate a seafood casserole.

She liked it. I’d never order such a dish.

That’s more than everyone needs to know.

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