Tuesday, February 12, 2008
The King's Head is arguably home to the best fish and chips in Los Angeles. Sadly, the fish and chips get so much attention that the clam chowder is not given its rightful due. Let me make up for that now. The King's Head Pub in Santa Monica serves the chowder of the gods. All other chowders should bow down before it. Other chowders dare not speak its name.
I remember speaking to the chef the first time I ever tried the chowder, and the recipe was basically: Butter, flour, heavy cream, potatoes, and clams that have to be specially flown in. They are not commercially available. In other words, you will never be able to duplicate this chowder. You should just accept the fact that you will now be forced to drive to Santa Monica from the farthest reaches of the earth for the rest of your life.
The chowder is extremely rich and creamy. Sometimes it's almost too much and I can only dip in bits of the roll, using the chowder instead of butter. The potatoes manage to stay at a perfect consistency without falling apart. They are never, ever too hard. The English learned long ago that you don't fuck with an Irishman's potato. The clams are deliciously toothsome, with just barely a hint of the sea. Most importantly, there is never a bit of grit. Not the tiniest bit. One usually has to approach clam chowder with caution, preparing oneself for the inevitable crunch. My dad use to tease me by telling me that it was the brains. Of course, now that I've seen a dissected clam in high school textbooks, the brains are the least of my worries. Oh, but I'm supposed to be making you want to eat this soup, not freaking you out. Never mind. This chowder makes me willing to put aside all of my squeamishness.
Let's just say, The King's Head clam chowder and fish and chips would be my last meal on death row. No question. With about ten pints of Bass.