Pike Place: my personal culinary Disneyland. Among the sea of booths, stands and storefronts beckoning hungry market-goers with smorgasbords of northwest delicacies, there are a few tokens to which I am extremely loyal. I have already professed my love for Beecher’s, but there is another Pike Place contender that rivals the deliciousness and supreme value of Beecher’s mac and cheese: Pike Place Chowder. Appropriately, Sea-town is a city of world-class seafood. If there is a particular seafood item that we Seattleites are the most passionate about, it is for suresies salmon. My favorite salmon meal on this planet is not the most conventional, but rather the unexpectedly perfect salmon chowder from Pike Place Chowder.
Tucked away adorably in Post Alley at Pike Place, Pike Place Chowder has become a staple at the market. A touristy day will yield long lines of travelers and locals alike, anxiously waiting for their world to be rocked vis-à-vis the local chowder champ. Waiting isn’t all that bad, however, given that the odds tend to favor an endearingly idiosyncratic (and utterly “Seattle-y”) street performer gracing the line with some glorious tunes, life lessons, etc. But what really makes the entire experience worthwhile is the smooth, delicious comfort of the salmon chowder. Not only is it just incredibly unique and crafted flawlessly, but it is so fresh and wonderfully priced. Make no mistake, all the chowders—and really every food item on this menu—are classic and unbelievably tasty. But the salmon chowder is precious to me because it is so surprising and majestic.
Salmon chowder generally might invoke suspicions of overly-fishy flavor, but in the case of Pike Place Chowder, it is quite the opposite. It is a subtle, creamy, herby and hearty homage to the most classic, cozy and delectable preparation of salmon: nova smoked salmon, capers, and cream cheese—all that’s missing is the bagel. But don’t worry, because there is freshly-baked sourdough bread accompanying each cup of chowder. The salmon chowder is everything chowder should be. Don’t hate me, but I usually don’t even love clam chowder, however this stuff drives me cray cray. Chowder naysayers, there is hope for you! And at just $4.95 for an 8 oz cup (or $6.25 for a 12 oz bowl), with a fun atmosphere and a lovely Seattle setting, this is perhaps one of the most satisfying meals in existence. Trust me pals, once you go salmon chowder, you never go back.