Sam's Chowder House

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A weekend of gorgeous sunny weather in the Bay Area made me think that it would spill over to Half Moon Bay.  Apparently not, but the overcast didn't stop people from lining up outside Sam's Chowder House waiting for them to open.  I actually made a reservation for the opening time (11:00AM), but most people were walk in and I noticed that the restaurant wasn't even filled till after noon.

The bread was disappointing.  No crusty bread for dipping. 

When they say a bowl of New England clam chowder here, they really mean a bowl.  This has got to be the largest bowl of clam chowder I've ever had.  You could probably get away with ordering a cup for two people to share here.  The chowder here is a little too watery for my taste.  It lacked the thick and chunky characteristic that I love in clam chowders.  Also, the clams were pretty minimal and looking for them took some effort.
Cioppino with a hearty tomato based sauce with a medley of seafood.  This shellfish stew came with a mixture of mussels, clams, prawns, rock cod, and Dungeness crab.  The shrimps were a little overcooked, but the rest of the seafood was generous and fresh.  The mussels and the clams were probably the highlights of this stew.  The soft bread sops up the broth quite nicely.

Sam's most famous item is the lobster roll ($21.95) and comes with coleslaw and chips.  I liked the how the coleslaw wasn't drowned in mayo and still retained its crunchy texture.   I noticed a lot of people substituted their chips for their Old Bay french fries.  Probably in hindsight I should have done this, but I was too eager to get the lobster roll on my table as soon as possible.       
The close up of the lobster roll.  You can see its overflowing with lobster meat, mostly claw meat.  Actually, there is so much meat that there are chunks of lobster on the tray behind the sandwich that probably fell off en route to the table.  The roll is butter and toasted with a fluffy center.  There is a sprinkling of fresh celery on top of the lobster that I found to give it a nice crunchy texture and fresh flavor with each bite.  Overall, it was pretty good (Ad Hoc's is still #1 in my book). 

Address:                              Sam's Chowder House
                                                    4210 N Cabrillo Hwy
                                                    Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Type:                                     seafood

Popular chomps:         lobster roll
                                                    clam chowder

Chomp worthy:             lobster roll

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