Clam Chowder Puff Pastry, Scotland Yard, San Francisco, CA.

As a youngster, I always found clam chowder bread bowls among the most exciting mainstays of Fisherman’s Wharf or any similar oceanfront neighborhood. The way the bread soaks up the creamy broth, the joy of scraping and eating the resultant flavor-packed slush, the mischievous pleasure in ripping and eating large chunks of your bowl before you finished the soup.

Stopping off at Scotland Yard in the North Beach, I couldn’t pass up this riff on the classic. Served in a large ramekin, the clam chowder broth is topped with a giant, flaky puff pastry crust instead of the classic sourdough bowl.

Flavor: 2.5 / 5. The puff pastry was nice—soft, flaky, well-balanced in its oiliness. The soup itself left a little something to be desired—a little too briny, a little too watery and insubstantial. Soaking slivers of the puff pastry in the broth was eminently satisfying, but it was the satisfaction of someone who likes to play with his food, not someone who needs to fill his stomach. Get another meal on the side.

Fun: 4 / 5. A fun, welcome twist on a classic, nostalgia-inducing dish. Plus it’s just fun to punch holes into a puff pastry cap and find soup underneath. It’s like a monster-sized xiaolongbao—soup surrounded in dough always has something delightful about it.

Funkiness: 1 / 5. Nothing particularly crazy about it—more novel than weird. But I still love the mashup.


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