100 Favorite Dishes: The Tornado at the Chowder Room

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

No. 85: The Tornado at the Chowder Room
If you're looking for a great bowl of clam chowder, starting at a place called the Chowder Room is a good bet. The seaside-style fish house on South Broadway offers no fewer than four styles every day: a classic bacon-studded New England chowder, a spicy red, a vegan curry soup made creamy with coconut milk, and a rotating chowder of the day.

Purists will insist on New England style — and they won't be disappointed with the thick, creamy version served here, loaded with clams and potatoes and ladled out into cups, bowls or sourdough boules. But the spicy red (not a Manhattan chowder, which is also offered on occasion) has its charms, too, with a tangy base and just a touch of heat so as not to overwhelm the seafood flavor. 

For those in the know (that means you), though, the Chowder Room has a secret menu with a few treats waiting for the right person. If you're craving creamy and spicy at the same time, ask for the tornado, a 50/50 bowl of New England style with the spicy red chowder spooned into the center. The different viscosities of the two soups keep them separated so you can sample sips of each, but then it's time to hit the mixture with a few quick stirs to enjoy all of the flavors together. Tomato, bacon, cream, potato, red pepper and briny clams come together in a seriously delicious concoction.

What else is on the secret menu? If you're a fan of The Wire, ask for the Jimmy McNulty sandwich. We won't spoil the surprise, though if you've watched the whole series, you might be able to guess that crab cakes are involved. Now, clam up and eat.

Throughout this year, we'll be counting down the best dishes in the city — from longtime classics that keep us coming back to new additions that have caught our attention. If there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section, or shoot us an e-mail at cafe@westword.com.

Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2016 countdown are linked below.

No. 100: Masala Beef at Biju's Little Curry Shop
No. 99: Bacon Shrimp and Grits at Bacon Social House
No. 98: Porchetta and Kimchi Sandwich at Brider
No. 97: Squab-and-Sunchoke Tortellini at Abejas
No. 96: Housemade Burrata at Viand
No, 95: Schweinshaxe at Rhein Haus
No. 94 Kimchi Jeon at Seoul BBQ
No. 93: Zuppa Pomodoro at Parisi Italian Market & Deli
No. 92: The Ocean Salad at Sushi-Rama
No. 91: The Signature Bowl from Churn & Burn
No. 90: Green Chorizo at Los Compadres
No. 89: The Diavola Calzone at Pino's Neighborhood Pizzeria
No. 88: Biscuits and Green Chile at the Noshery
No. 87: Chirashi at Izu Sushi
No. 86: Brisket and Ribs at GQue Championship BBQ

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.