Best Clam Chowder - 2011
Bittersweet is the blood, sweat and tears of chef/owner Olav Peterson, who opened his own restaurant after spending the past several years as the exec chef of Bistro One. His seasonal board is short but powerful, a direct, focused and ambitious stab at some of our favorite foods, including clam chowder. There are dozens of renditions around town, most of them a flat vat of cream and canned clams — but Peterson's is a stunning bowl of transcendence. He uses cream, to be sure, but the liquid, permeated with smoke, gets its unduplicated flavor from the liquor left by pounds and pounds of smoked mussels, as well as specks of bacon and other seasonings. Peterson then sinks a potato croquette into the chowder and crowns that with a razor clam and a full slice of crispy bacon that shatters into the superlative soup.