clam chowder for dessert

A few times every summer we drive out to Montauk to gaze at the ocean - next stop Portugal ! - and ride past sites of scenic and historical interest - submarines! spies! rumrunners! bootleggers! the blessing of the fishing fleet! the lighthouse! Then we walk on the sand and smile, how lucky we are to be on the best beach in the world and not on the dirty gray pebbles/bamboo mats of the tacky old Riviera. Then we find someplace to eat that isn't Gosman's because even though Gosman's Dock is a Beloved Local Institution, it's been For Sale By Family on and off for the past 5 years and that does have kind of a depressing effect on the food and service.
Last week we hopped into our trusty parking-sticker-embelllished old car (meta-meaning: driven by townies of moderate means who let others of that persuasion take as long as they need to turn left while drivers of Bentleys sit and steam), and headed east.
There's a place on New York's trendy Lower East Side called Zum Schneider which claims to be a Bavarian restaurant cum beer hall. We've talked about going, but lowering a few next to a table of grouchy bankers is not my cup of Spaten. I like a lot of German food, when it's well prepared with top-notch ingredients. So when I read that Zum Schneider had opened a Bavarian Beer Hall with Kitchen right off the Circle in Montauk, well, that became our food destination.

The Beer Garden part of the establishment didn't seem to be up and going yet, something to do with licensing for the outdoor consumption of gassy beer, but the Beer Hall, Sports Bar and Kitchen are operating. Little blue&white pennants surround a very large TV screen, and coordinated with my blue&white striped gauze heat-wave-appropriate maxi skirt with navy tank.

A journalist friend says that you can tell the reviewer of a restaurant is trying to be polite when he/she talks about everything but the food. Like what the reviewer wore, and who else was there. Yup.

I find excuses for German cooks who grew up under Communism and simply have no idea what they're doing, or what good food should taste like, but is there any excuse for a Bavarian kitchen that can't do a decent Weisswurst (mild lean veal sausage with flecks of parsley and a touch of nutmeg)? I would have loved a side dish with my lonely pale sausages, the only possibility was Spaetzle (little fried egg noodle dumplings, which are a side dish when you're prosperous and a full meal when you're not, or when you are but you crave Spaetzle anyway) - so, really, $18 for a small dish of noodles? Plus tax and tip?

At another table, a guy was explaining VERY LOUDLY why soccer (Fussball) players make good boyfriends. Having dumped several during my misspent youth, I was tempted to contradict his theories of strength and endurance, but Himself had a better idea.

"Let's leave and get dessert at Duryea's," he tenderly murmured.
hopeful seagulls at the dock at Duryea's Dock

Mr. Duryea was a lobsterman and Speaker of the New York State Assembly. A dock run by his family serves the best white chowder on Long Island - plenty of clams, creamy, not gluey.

If you look at the label on a Sam Adams beer, it eulogizes the epononymous Mr. A as "Brewer and Patriot."  I would like to come up with a similar brief but moving description of the late Perry Duryea. The chowdah alone is worthy of it, and that's what you should have for dessert to fill in the cracks around 2 skinny sausages. Especially if you are wearing a roomy and forgiving long skirt.


  1. Mr. Lane would love this dessert-- not me though. Now up heah, we would not specify white chowdah as that would be redundant; in RI where we used to live one saw "red' chowder and that was termed " Manhattan chowder"-- is this true??

  2. Yup. Both are available out here. The so-called "New England" chowder is popular among the natives, who will point out that if you stand here and look there, you will see Connecticut. The "Manhattan" chowder, which contains gasp! tomatoes, is popular among the summer people, especially those who travel to get what they have at home. There was indeed once a native accent peculiar to this area, no mall-speak here, now its status is whatever comes next after endangered. Sigh.

  3. What an interesting...uh...alternative travelog ;) $18 for a plate of spaetzle. I think they've outdone even the swanky Swiss tourist traps.

    I've given you the One Lovley Blog Award, posted on my blog tonight.

    Thanks for your excellent and often amusing musings!!

  4. Wow, cc, thank you!

    I hope the Beer Hall succeeds, but the pricing is beyond dubious.

  5. I have awarded you the On Lovely Blog Award on my blog in tonight's post.


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